Saturday, August 6, 2016

Gone on Holiday by Mistake, or Thoughts on Withnail and I

Withnail and I (1987), an eminently quotable and delightful film follows two hard-drinking unemployed actors living in gloriously shabby gentility squalor in a Camden Town flat for a gin-filled weekend.  Richard E. Grant’s steals the movie in his big screen debut as Withnail, the posh thespian and bitter alcoholic while Paul McGann portrays his best mate “I”.  Frustrated with London and the lack of work, they decide the best solution is a weekend in the country.  Fortunately, Withnail’s uncle has a cottage.
The wonderful Richard Griffiths stars as the lascivious Uncle Monty, owner of said country cottage, who is very excited at the potential of two handsome young lads spending the weekend under his roof.  You remember Richard Griffiths as Uncle Vernon in Harry Potter.  Ralph Brown portrays Danny, “All hairdressers are in the employment of the government,” their drug dealer.
At its heart, Withnail and I is a portrait of the tragedy of unfulfilled potential and leaving friends behind because you’ve come to the realization that you’ve outgrown them.  Brilliantly written and directed by Bruce Robinson, who would go on to direct Jennifer 8 (1992, with a very young Uma Thurmann) and The Rum Diary (2011), and based on his life as an out of work actor in Camden.  There really was a Withnail, and his name was Vivian MacKerrell.
Richard E. Grant went on to a successful film career with an IMDb with currently 112 credits, including Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Hudson Hawk (1991), Gosford Park (2001), Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and Izembaro in Game of Thrones.  Paul McGann will be forever remembered as The Eighth Doctor, and also starred in Alien 3 (1992) and Queen of the Damned (2002), in addition to the BBC TV series Luther and Ripper Street.


my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hr diner with the best pie in town…