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Paul interview with Mike Soutar in February 1996 FHM

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Joined: 09 Feb 2006
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Location: Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:17 pm    Post subject: Paul interview with Mike Soutar in February 1996 FHM Reply with quote

Every now and then I find Paul articles on eBay. Here's one from the Feb. 1996 FHM (For Him Magazine) that I posted on the pmeb list back in June 2001. THe article is in the Quote, Unquote section and is entitled

The star of Withnail and I on Ken Branagh, the SAS and the Camberwell

--Withnail and I was made ten years ago. How does that make you feel?

Ten years older! There's a part of me can't help thinking that it should have been a success back then. But at the time there was a big distribution row, so it never happened.

--Were you disappointed that it bombed originally at the box-office?

It was sadly inevitable. We liked it, but it did have inherent problems, not least of which was that there were no women in it, no sex, no car chases, no violence. I remember the producer on the phone trying to sell it to a distributor going, "Well, no, it's like two fellas, er, *talking*." It did six weeks in London and only played a couple of other cities.

--Yet it's one of the classic 'bloke' movies. There must be people who know it better than you...

Yeah, definitely, word for word. There are people who go on about parties they have, Withnail screenings where everyone mouths along to every line. Fucking *weird*, but it says something about how good the dialogue was.

--Do people still come up to you in the pub and quote lines from it?

Yeah, they still do. I had a barman a couple of weeks ago do it to me. He said--what is it?--"Two pints, and ice in the cider." It's amazing, isn't it? Usually with a picture, if you're an actor, you learn the dialogue and then promptly forget it. But after years of people coming up to me I've learned great chunks of it again.

--And have you ever had cause yourself to walk up to a barman and say, "We want the finest wines available to humanity"?

(Laughs) Strangely not, no.

--What's your favourite line in the whole movie?

Well, my favourite bit--it's not even funny taken out of context--is where we've just arrived at the cottage and it's pitch dark, it's pissing down and we're soaking. Richard (E. Grant, who plays Withnail) has got this broken fag in his mouth and I walk in and I say, "What are you doing?" and he says, "Sitting down to enjoy my holiday." It's the way he says it. It was that face of his.

--Richard E. Grant wasn't the first choice to play Withnail, was he?

I don't think any of us were the first choice. You hardly ever are. I even hear that Michael Moloney turned my part down--he'll probably deny this actually, but it's true--he turned it down because he said it was *homophobic*! Now there are senses of humour and there are senses of humour. I was actually given the job about a week before Richard walked in, so I had to audition prospective Withnails.

--Who auditioned?

Oh, just about everybody who was around at the time. Ken Branagh came in. He was good. But my favourite, before Richard turned up, was Eddie Tenpole-Tudor.

--So he was pretty good, then...

He was fucking sensational. He was Withnail. It was the day the financial backers were there. Two suits, American guys, didn't say anything, looked like Gilbert and George. We auditioned the scene where Withnail is supposed to gob and say, "Look at that, that's the first solids to pass my lips in four days." So Eddie's sitting there at this audition and he gets this big greenie up, it comes from his ankles somewhere and he spits--thwockk!--and it lands right on the turn-ups of one of the American guy's trousers. That's maybe why he didn't get the job.

--Nobody ever remembers I's name. Did he actually have one?

Yeah, he's called Marwood. But it's never mentioned in the film. Actually, I was thinking about this the other day. After we finished the film we couldn't decide whose name was going to go first on the billing, mine or Richard's. We'd never been in a film before so we didn't know how it was done: who's the biggest, or whose dad's the hardest. So Richard's office played their card. "Well," they said, "his character's name is mentioned first in the
title." Until I, typical grammar school boy, pointed out to them that in fact it was in the first person, the title.

--So who got the billing?

We shared it. My name was first on the opening credits and his was first at the end.

--Have you come across the Withnail and I drinking game?

Yeah. Frightening, isn't it?

-- What about the Ronsonoil in the middle?

Do they actually go for that? I've never done it. Even if I wanted to go on a real bender, I wouldn't try that one.

--Richard E. Grant was teetotal, wasn't he?

He's allergic to drink. The merest sniff and he falls over, violently sick. But he didn't tell anyone this until we turned up for the first day's rehearsal! Bruce Robinson, the director, was going on about drunks in films, saying that a bad drunk act is the worst thing. And Richard said, "Look, I don't actually know what it's like, I've never been drunk, can't drink." Then he said, "But I had one of those joints once." And he pulled off the screen drunk to top all screen drunks. Brilliant. I could never have done it.

--Talking of joints, how many papers did it take to build the Camberwell
Carrot? We're saying it was a nine-skinner.

I reckon you're probably right. The prop person was deft, to say the least. I'm a terrible joint-roller. I end up with such a badly built joint it looks like someone's smoking a newspaper.

--Last Withnail question: when was the last time you had The Fear--a
panic attack--in real life?

I used to get panic attacks when I was doing too many drugs. The last one was about five years ago--the last time I took cocaine. I remembered why I'd stopped taking it years before. My heart was going a hundred to the dozen. It was horrible. You think you're going to die.

--You're doing a movie based on Chris Ryan's book, The One That Got Away, about the SAS in the Gulf War...

Yeah, we shot it in South Africa about three months ago. The trip was great. (Laughs) I think the film might be okay as well.

--Is the movie faithful to the book?

Not really. The one who had most trouble with the changes was Chris Ryan himself--he was with us as an adviser.

--Did he stop you during scenes and say, "I didn't do it like that"?

All the time.

--When we interviewed Ryan in October's FHM, he said you weren't good
looking enough, needed a bit of plastic surgery on your nose.

Mr Showbiz! He's learning isn't he ?

--Did you have any arguments with him? Ask him to step outside?

With him? You're joking, aren't you? Actually one of the actors did fall out with him, although it didn't get as far as outside. Just as well, Ryan would have fucking had him! Mind you, there were things I didn't want him to tell me. We'd be having a drink and he'd tell me about some stuff he'd done, killing and that, and I'd be like, "Stop, okay, stop now."

--You've been described as 'thinking woman's crumpet'. How do you feel
about that?

You know, I've never met one who has thought to mention it. But I am popular with the women I know personally.

--Are you a ladies' man or a man's man?

Well, I'm probably not a man's man. Having spent a couple of months in the desert with a group of men, I couldn't wait to get home to my wife, to have a woman's company. There's a limit to how much I can be with other men. I'm not that good at being macho. I've never really gone in for all those blokish games, mass drinking sessions...

--So what did you do on your stag night then?

That was one of the odder nights. We all took Ecstasy...And I had a row! I had a row with someone really close to me! I'd never taken E before and I remember thinking, *this isn't meant to happen*. A love drug it was not.


Mary Ellen thought Paul was trying to be laddish in this article.

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Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 354
Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "thinking woman's crumpet" LOL!!
Gibbs: "And why do they use such weird names?"
Tony: "When you're a computer geek invading dungeons and fighting ogres, 'Jethro' doesn't cut it.
Tony: "Neither does 'Tony'."

Navy NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service 2003
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