Richard E. Grant: ''Too weird to become an actor'

The Brit felt sure his performance in break-out movie Withnail and I was awful.

Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant's acting dreams took a huge knock early on when he was told he looked "too weird" to land regular work.

The actor was studying drama at the University of Cape Town in South Africa when one mentor told him to rethink his career as he wasn't "cut out'' to become an actor.

The 61-year-old Brit, who up for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, told The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, ''He (teacher) said, 'I don't think that you really are cut out - or are going to make it as an actor - because you look too weird'."

Grant admits the critique made him rule out any hope of becoming a movie star: "I thought I was going to spend my whole life doing Chekhov in the theatre. It didn't really cross my mind that it would be possible to ever be in a movie - that's what happened overseas or in America or in Hollywood."

The actor carried that lack of confidence into his break-out film, Withnail and I, after winning the role of alcoholic, out-of-work actor Withnail from Daniel Day Lewis after he turned the job down.

Grant thought he was so awful in the movie, he offered to give director Bruce Robinson his salary.

"When I saw the first showing of Withnail and I before the music had been done I gauged blood out of my wife's wrist while watching it," he explained. "I was so distraught at what I saw that I said to Bruce Robinson, 'I know that I f**ked up your film. Please take my money back because I know I'll never work again'.

"I was wholly convinced that would be the truth. I'm very grateful that other people didn't feel the same way."

The 1987 movie, which also features Paul McGann and the late Richard Griffiths, has become a cult hit.

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