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Celebrated actor Richard E Grant, 65, has opened up about the terrifying moment his father fired a gun at him in a fit of rage. The actor, who is set to host the BAFTA Awards this year, spoke about growing up in Swaziland in a new interview.
Richard has already expressed his excitement and utter joy at being chosen to host the BAFTAs this year alongside This Morning favourite Alison Hammond.
The Withnail and I actor has previously won several awards for his role as Jack Hock in Marielle Heller’s 2018 drama film Can You Ever Forgive Me?
He has also received Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.
The star spoke about his enduring love of film and how it shaped his childhood in a new interview, where he also spoke about one frightening ordeal he endured after his father caught him sneaking in after watching a movie he wasn’t supposed to see.
Richard was born in Swaziland (now named Eswatini) in Africa, but visited Britain every three years with his parents, which is how he first came to see Oliver! in a London cinema at the age of 12.
“It made an extraordinary impression on me, because it had child actors in it,” he told Radio Times.
“As somebody who wanted to be an actor secretly, seeing Mark Lester and Jack Wild was a very concentrated moment of understanding that you could become an actor, and still be young.”
However, he recalled that at the time his dreams of becoming an actor were “completely fantastical and ludicrous”, partly due to where he lived but also because of his heavy drinking government administrator father.
When he was 15, Richard snuck out to see A Clockwork Orange despite its 18 rating.
Based on Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel of the same name, the Stanley Kubrick classic includes disturbing images, displays of violence and scenes of a sexual nature.
“It had a triple-X rating, and you couldn’t see it until you were 18 years old,” Richard remembered.
“So I snuck in by telling the woman who was at the box office that she looked just like Elizabeth Taylor.”
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After Richard had watched the film, the article describes the horrifying fate that awaited the young film-lover at home.
“Grant saw the film – but when he returned home his drunken father was so angry at him, he put a gun to his son’s temple and took a shot. Fortunately, he missed,” the outlet reports.
During the interview, Richard also noted that his professors told him he was unlikely to succeed as an actor “because I was very odd-looking, with a very odd face” – but he would not be deterred.
In 1982, Richard left Swaziland for London and landed his break-out role in Withnail and I five years later.
Since then, he has played supporting characters in films like The Age of Innocence, The Portrait of a Lady, Gosford Park, Bright Young Things, and Penelope.
Read the whole interview with Richard E. Grant in the latest copy of Radio Times.
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