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Richard E Grant

Agony of losing our baby, by other Mr Grant

by Fiona Russell Powell

Daily Express - 9th June 1995

SINCE the phenomenal U.S. success of the British comedy Four Weddings And A Funeral the media spotlight has been firmly trained on actor Hugh Grant and his girlfriend Liz Hurley. But now another Mr Grant looks set to take Hollywood by storm in a new British film. Jack And Sarah.
Richard E. Grant is a refreshing change from the awkward, public school imaga of his namesake. His performance exudes intelligence and humour. And as we settle down for an interview in his west London home. his over-riding feeling is one of confidence.
But he laughs at the suggestion that soon he will be the new English sex symbol.
" You can see me without my shirt on must know that' hunk' is about the last word you can use to describe my scraggy old ribcage. When I sat at the screening and saw this thing lying on a bed next the baby. I thought 'Oh God. cover it up. Quick!'."
However. Grant is full of admiration for the script. “It seemed to deal with of and loss and yet managed to be funny at same time. I assumed it must be the writer's first-hand experience because it seemed so real. I mean. we've lost our babies, we've been through all . So. that sort of hooked me in." Fearlessly leaping where interviewees to tread. Richard touches upon a sensitive subject - the death of his and Joan's baby: "In the past I've been asked 'how do you tap into grief so convincingly?'. and ended up hauling out the Greatest Misery Hits of my life. It sounds as if you're using stuff that is absolutely intimate and personal to fulfil a publicity demand.
But he says doing the film was a form of therapy. "It goes a long way to addressing loss. And it wasn't done like a soap opera or Hollywood slush. It's the only time I’ve seen a film I've been in that made me cry, which surprised me."

There is a happy ending to the Rich-and Joan story, too. They are now parents of a five-year-old daughter, Olivia. Do they plan to expand the family? "Because my wife has problems holding on to babies longer than seven months, the specialist advised us not to have another.
" But, if I had the choice, I'd probably stick with one child because I have a brother whom I'm completely estranged from and haven't seen since my father's funeral 13 years ago. We've never got on and my parents spent all my childhood arbitrating between us, to the point where my father gave us boxing gloves as Christmas presents."
Losing a child was not his only painful experience. His father died at 51 after a long struggle with cancer.
" Lung cancer is such a hideously grotesque and painful disease to watch happen to the person suffering it."
Determined not to have to go through the tragedy again. he issued an ultimatum to Joan, who used to be a heavy smoker. He refused to kiss her until she gave up.
Grant is also forthcoming about his role in the fop film Hudson Hawk. in which he performed alongside Bruce Willis. He describes the film as a "howling dog" from which he was "burnt by being in it".
And talking of Willis's alleged egomania. he admits: "All the chips were stacked in his favour. I think only someone like Schwarzenegger could control that."
But when asked to compare working with Willis to working with Dame Mag-gie Smith, he gives an astonishing reply: "There's no comparison. On a scale of one to 10, she's a 12. Her talent is untouchable. but what she's capable of personally is lethal."
There is much to be learnt from Richard E. Grant. One lesson is that, to judge from his rapport with babies on screen, that old theatre adage "Never work with animals or children isn't always true. Perhaps it should be changed to "Never work with animals or Dames".