The character of Withnail, played by Richard E Grant, in the seminal movie classic Withnail And I, was based on a man called Vivian MacKerrell, with whom the movie’s writer and director Bruce Robinson once shared a flat.
Grant never met MacKerrell – he was discouraged from doing so by Dickinson. MacKerrell died over twenty years ago and tonight, during a China Exchange “audience with” event in London, Grant expressed his regret at never having done so.
But in the audience was Jock McKerrell, his brother, who asked Grant about playing the man. It was an incredibly emotional moment as Grant asked Jock if his portrayal had come anything close to the real man.
And to be told by Jock, “spot on!”
It was an evening full of emotion, laughter, sadness and silliness as Grant talked about his life, career and smells, but that had to be a highlight.
The two met after the show, looking through magazine articles, about Vivian. And notation on the movie poster.
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