"An Audience with Richard E Grant"
By Nicola Atkins, Sunday, 17th November 2002
The Theatre is a tiny place, seats maybe 200 maximum with a tight squeeze....seating around the "stage" (floor)and some upstairs. On the floor there was just a chair for Richard. He came out at 7pm, dressed in very pointy black shoes (Olivia hates them). Wearing black trousers and jacket and a checked white/blue shirt I think it was. He was shaking so much, as he sat in the middle of us...he had a hardcopy of WithNails with him. He stated that he intended to read passages from the book and then answer questions.
He read a few sections of the book, Withnail and I parts only, adding little bits etc, or standing to give examples and after an hour took to questions, which he clearly he found far more relaxing.
I can't remember all the questions but here's the bits I can.
Richard mentioned about standing and reading magazines etc at WH Smith and he asked if there was anyone from WH Smith there, which there was. One. When this person later asked him a question, he was like "thanks Mrs WH Smith". And made a laugh about it all, stating that sometimes he bought a paper!
One guy started to say what a great actor etc Richard is and why did we have the likes of Richard E Grant to listen to and put up with....Yes, he meant to say Hugh Grant, but didn't he said Richard!!! Great laughs all round and Richard saying I am Richard E Grant!! His girlfriend quietly corrected him, he died from embarrassment and Richard et al laughed at the poor chap......classic moment.
He was asked if he still gets star struck - he said yes all stars do, hence they turn up on movies to meet each other.
He mentioned about meeting certain stars who are small and he tries to make himself smaller than these people because of the "bigness" of their status so to speak - i.e. Arnie who is only 5 foot 8"
He was asked about writing screenplays etc and said that all is set for Wah- Wah and tested the title on us, about 20 or so people put up their hands and said its a good title, the others didn't and he said he'd tell his wife it was 98% for the title! Filming starts in September.
Working with the Spice girls was great, they have 5 trailers for him and the girls, but the girls all moved into 1 and he moved in with them, which meant accounts on the film could return the other 4 trailers. He said his reputation with 10yrs at Olivia's school was at peak, but now they all deny ever having heard of the Spice girls. Olivia came by everyday to meet them all. etc.
Olivia presently wants to be a designer, fashion etc, but he feels that will change. He says that she has met and knows so many actors et al that she knows the deal with being out of work etc and doesn't fancy working in a bank etc between jobs when she really wants to be an actor.
Someone said the highlight of the last "Audience with.." Was the singing of the Swazi National Anthem, so at the end people gave him money to sing it, he must have picked up way over £1000. And he sung it partially in the dark, as he wanted the lights down!
ABOVE: Richard collects money from the Audience before singing the Swazi anthem in the dark.
Someone yelled "why Argos"? We all cheered, and he said simply he wasn't going to insult the person by stating the obvious. But that it had all paid for this years Xmas presents and party!
I asked if he was going to do another "With Nails" or whether he would prefer to do a novel. He said that With Nails was about going from nothing to stardom, so anything afterwards is pretty much an anticlimax, that was the impression got. He said he would be interested in writing up the diaries of how the film "Wah Wah" goes, from nothing to something. He thanked me for my question by name and than stated to everyone who I was and that I was from the REGiment.
Someone asked how he got to Swaziland - so he explained about his father moving out there in the 50s (I think he said) to work hence he was born out there and now returns every year etc.
Someone asked why 2 watches. He said he loved watches and would wear them all up his arms if he could. One is always to UK time, the other is either to Swazi time (if his in the UK) or to the time of the country his in!
Richard stated that he studied English and Drama at University because his father said he would only pay for him to go if he studied an academic subject, when he (Richard) just wanted to do Drama. Cape Town University allowed to him to fulfil both his own wishes (Drama) and his fathers (English).
Richard also told us that he's a DIY man, and does his own electrical and plumbing problems, as he refuses to pay for someone to come out and do them. He also hates it when plumbers etc. don't have the parts, tell you it'll take a week and charge you for their return!
He spent a good time answering peoples questions, before then leaving and going to the lobby to sign copies of "with Nails" which if bought there 50% went to the Shooting Star Trust. He then spent time signing and posing for pictures with people...
ABOVE: Richard with 2 of the Shooting Star Trust organisers, Gilliam Thorpe (on Richard's left) is also from the Theatre.
Click here to see Richard's REGiment greeting from the night.
ABOVE: Richard signing people's books etc in the lobby of the theatre afterwards.