of losing our baby, by other Mr Grant
by Fiona Russell Powell
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
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
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
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
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
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".