Richard E. Grant Tells Us About All The Women In His Life (& Which One He Finds Funniest)

Photo: Katie Jones/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
Welcome to 'The Women Who Made Me', a series in which we ask some of our favourite men in the public eye about the women they grew up with, the women who shaped them, and the women who continue to inspire them. Today we are joined by Richard E. Grant, one of the country's most loved actors, having appeared in everything from Withnail & I to Girls. He is currently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Describe your mother in five words...
Indomitable, determined, strong, charming and very well read.
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What did you call your grandmothers and what was your relationship with them like?
Didn’t know them. Gone before I was old enough to.
Who was the first girl or woman you kissed?
Jill Smith, when I was six years old. We were both asked to leave the class for talking too much and while standing outside the door, we kissed each other. Briefly. Secretly. Excitedly.
When did a woman last make you cry?
Saying goodbye to Melissa McCarthy in reel life – the final scene in Can You Ever Forgive Me? And then in real life when we said goodbye to one another at the end of the American and British press junkets. Spending that amount of time together made us very close, so parting was very painful.
Photo: Courtesy Of 20th Century Fox
Can You Ever Forgive Me? Melissa McCarthy & Richard E. Grant, 2019
Which woman’s style do you most admire and why?
Audrey Hepburn and Julie Christie. Apart from their staggering physical beauty, the way that they dress and carry themselves seems effortless and unselfconscious.
What is your favourite piece of art – be it a film, record, book, painting, performance – by a woman?
Barbra Streisand singing "I'm The Greatest Star" in Funny Girl and concluding with "My Man" for the finale of the movie. As idiosyncratic and indelibly defiant a movie debut as I’ve ever seen. Completed with a definitive interpretation of Fanny Brice’s theme song. Streisand is a film-record-book and performance one-woman phenomenon.
Who is your best platonic girl friend and why do you like her?
I have many and wouldn’t dare upset one by favouring another. What I value most is their openness, compassion, strength, humour, tolerance and resilience.
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What is the most important lesson a woman has taught you?
My father advised me that women are an endless mystery and trying to fathom how and why is a lifelong mission worth undertaking. I cannot imagine there are many women stupid enough to embark on going to war. What has that taught me? That men are usually deluded enough to think it’s a worthwhile option.
Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock
Killing Dad, Richard E. Grant & Julie Walters, 1989
Which woman makes you laugh the most?
Melissa McCarthy and Julie Walters have the gift of being funny without relying on anecdotes or jokes. They just have 'funny bones' and their observations and reactions make you laugh out loud and want to fall to your knees in gratitude for their life-enhancing hilarity.
Are you ever envious of women?
Envious of their ability to multitask and intuit situations. Am admiring and awe-inspired by their resilience and willingness to forgive.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? is released in UK cinemas on 1st February.
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