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.