Monday, July 19, 2010

Male on Monday: Richard E Grant

And now for something, or someone, completely different. He's not a Hollywood hunk. He's not young and muscle-bound. But he's charming and witty and an actor I love to watch. He's intriguing and clever and he has one of the nicest smiles I've seen. When I was trying to decide who to write about today his name came up and my daughter (among others) instantly seconded the idea. She then told me about how he'd appeared in 'Spice World - The Movie' - about the Spice Girls. Not his usual cup of tea but apparently because his little girl was a Spice Girls fan and wanted her dad to be involved. Aww...

Richard E. Grant is an actor, director and writer. He was born in Swaziland in 1957. He's 6'2" and was born Richard Grant Esterhuysen. For obvious reasons his nickname is Reg. He knew from an early age he wanted to be an actor - a passion fuelled by his instant infatuation with Barbra Streisand. As a boy he made and ran his own puppet theatre at home. He studied English and Drama that Cape Town University where he co-founded a multi-racial avant garde theatre ensemble. He's been married to the same woman (a dialect coach) for years and appears devoted to his family.

You may have seen him in a range of films or TV shows including 'The Scarlet Pimpernel', 'Gosford Park', 'Bright Young Things', 'Miss Marple', 'Dalziel and Pascoe', 'The Little Vampire' (with the perfect hairline for the part of a vampire father), 'Withnail and I' and so on. He's also in demand for voice parts in animated films (he has the most terrific voice). He's worked with Robert Altman, Martin Scorcese and Frances Ford Coppola.

He's directed a film called 'Wah Wah', a drama about his family life as a boy in Africa. There's a book about the making of the film too, which starred, among others, Miranda Richardson and Gabriel Byrne (he's pictured with them below). I warmed to him as a director when I read his quote: "Get the best catering your budget can afford-a well-fed cast and crew are all the happier for it." Obviously a man with his priorities right.

I've seen him interviewed and he comes across as charming, fascinating, interested in the world and everyone in it, definitely not someone who believes the world revolves around him. He seems to make a habit of asking interviewers as many questions about themselves as they manage to slip in about him and that makes for great viewing!

I found it particularly interesting reading a little more about him for this post. The similarities between his experiences as an actor and those of writers intrigued me. For instance: No-one believed it was possible to become a professional actor where I grew up. The more people mocked and knocked me for wanting to do so, the more determined I became to prove them wrong. It is a profession marked by the number of times you get rejected, but my English teacher at school always believed in me, and her belief has been the small voice in my head that has kept me going. Most especially through 1985 when I was unemployed for 11 months and thought I never had a chance. Then I got the lead role in Withnail and I, which changed my life. Never give up.

And this: Ensure that your script is watertight. If it's not on the page, it will never magically appear on the screen. Yes, he wrote his own screenplay.

And finally one more that particularly appealed: Anthony Hopkins says you just keep acting. Do it all the time and eventually it will happen. He got his break, after all, by taking a role nobody else wanted. A cannibal! As you can tell, I've found my little bit of research on REG quite inspirational. And I've left you with a photo from one of his roles that's a fave of mine. He made a fantastic Henry Higgins in 'My Fair Lady' on stage in Australia last year. The best I've ever seen. That's another thing I like about him - he's versatile!

Annie's thrilled her own leading man Tahir is on sale now in Australia, New Zealand and North America. SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY'S LOVE-CHILD is a sheikh story she adored writing, the final in the 4 book series called Dark Hearted Desert Men. SCANDAL has been getting fabulous reviews and is a USA TODAY bestseller. If you want to read an excerpt visit her website where there's also a contest to win this title as well as books by other authors. Or you can buy it in stores or online at Amazon or the Book Depository.


  1. I love, love, love Richard E. Grant. I actually prefer him to Hugh Grant. ;-)
    He is a bit on the quirky side, but what a smile!
    Smart, charming. I love his character parts, but I'm even happier when he gets a chance to play the leading man role.
    Jack and Sarah is one of my favorite of his movies.

  2. Hi Jill. How great to find another fan. Yes, quirky is definitely the word for him! But for all that, I find him intriguing - the sort of person I'd love to sit and chat with over lunch. I haven't seen 'Jack and Sarah' yet but it's on my list.

  3. Oh, Annie, I'm kicking myself for missing 'My Fair Lady'! I do enjoy watching REG on screen. There's something very reassuring about him.

    Congrats on your USA Today bestseller gong! I'm so happy for you.

  4. Vanessa, I'm so sorry you missed MFL. It was such fun, and I wasn't exaggerating when I said he was the best HH I've seen. Just the right mix of arrogance and vulnerability in the role for my taste.

    Thanks for the congrats on SCANDAL making the USA Today bestseller list. It's a real thrill! Tahir has definitely been making some friends along the way.

  5. Richard Grant is an excellent Male for Monday, Annie. I've seen him in a few of the movies you've listed...
    And Jill's recommended a movie of his that I know I haven't seen! I popped over to Google to have a look. It sounds great so that's now on the must-see list!

    Mega-congratulations on your well-deserved listing on USA Today! Happy dancing for you!



  6. Hi Sharon,

    Isn't it fun to have another movie to look forward to? Always a good feeling. Thanks for the congratulations on SCANDAL, Sharon!

  7. A good choice - I was glad it wasn't Hugh Grant, too.
    I love Tahir, as well!

  8. How cool, I was just thinking of Withnail and I the other day. Loved that movie! He was brilliant in it.

  9. Hi Christina, I'm glad you approve of REG. It's becoming harder to think of a Male on Monday who hasn't already been featured. But we love a challenge!

    How terrific that you love Tahir as well. Now, that's really thrilling! Thank you, Christina.

  10. Hi Jackie, he was excellent in 'Withnail and I' wasn't he? Tragic and comic and awful and utterly enthralling.

  11. Annie, I fell in love with him in WITHNAIL AND I --a movie I adored but my DH never, ever got.

    WAA WAA, was a wonderful movie, wasn't it? I don't know that the name did it any favors, though.

    Congratulations on hitting the USA Today bestseller list with SCANDAL, what an achievement. I am obviously in good company in loving this book!

  12. What a great Male on Monday, Annie. I love REG... and seriously adored him in the Scarlet Pimpernel. He plays a great villain in Hudson Hawk too. Like you say, versatile. Boring and REG just don't belong in the same sentence. He mightn't have the biggest muscles but you can't help thinking he's the real deal if you know what I mean.

    And huge congrats on SCANDAL hitting the USA Today bestseller list -- it's richly deserved!

  13. Hi Kandy,

    I only saw 'Withnail and I' for the first time a year or two ago, then wondered why I hadn't seen it earlier. And the film based on REG's early life was fascinating. Great performances too.

    Thanks, Kandy. It's great that SCANDAL is doing so well.

  14. Hi Michelle, am laughing at the very idea of REG and boring in the same sentence! What a thought. You know, I haven't seen Hudson Hawke. I must one of these days. Did you see him in Pret a Porter years ago?

    Ooh, thanks for the congratulations!

  15. Can still remember seeing Withnail and I at a preview screening and laughing so hard tears streamed down my face!

    "We've come on holiday by mistake!" still makes me smile... And boy did I need that smile last year when I was camping in Cornwall in the pouring rain amidst a plague of wasps... Thank you Richard E Grant!

  16. Hi Heidi,

    It sounds like you're a real fan. Wasps and rain - not a good combination! Hope the next vacation is better.