Richard E. Grant: ‘Melissa McCarthy is the best actor I’ve worked with’

Richard E. Grant instantly hit it off with his Can You Ever Forgive Me? co-star Melissa McCarthy.

Richard E. Grant’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? co-star Melissa McCarthy is his favourite actor to work with.

The Brit has bagged several supporting acting nominations, including his first Oscars nod, for his portrayal of grifter Jack Hock in the new biopic of writer-turned-forger Lee Israel, played by Melissa.

Despite having worked with stars including Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis, Richard shared that he’s never felt chemistry like he had with Melissa.

“The actor that I have really had the best working experience with is Melissa McCarthy,” he said at a career retrospective at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) headquarters in London.

Production pressures initially meant the two co-stars weren’t due to meet until the first day of shooting, but they managed to get together and instantly hit it off.

“We carved out two hours out of the day and a meal and we met, and I immediately saw at what level she was pitching this part at, and she lowered her voice, and a whole sense of gravity shifted,” the 61-year-old gushed. “We got on within the first five nanoseconds of meeting her. We just got on at such a profound level and that really informed how we made the movie.”

He added that it was “really unusual” for him to form such a close bond with a colleague - as generally, actors are ready to move on when the cameras stop rolling.

Richard went on to say that he was drawn to the film because its story focuses on the ups and downs of friendship, taking a universal theme and applying it to a strange pair of “oddballs”, who schemed to forge famous people’s letters and sell them to collectors as the real thing.

“It just seemed to deal with the A to Z of friendship more than anything else, even though the plot is all about forgery, the core of what the story is, is that,” he explained.

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