Richard E. Grant talks 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?', 'Star Wars' and his long career

Grant appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" and talks about the making of the film, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"
3:00 | 01/11/19

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Transcript for Richard E. Grant talks 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?', 'Star Wars' and his long career
Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers and welcome to popcorn where we tell you what's happening at the movies and there's a movie now that. If you haven't seen already need to see now and it's called can you ever forgive me. It stars Melissa McCarthy and my guest today Richard E. Grant Richard welcome thank you leverage because with a title like can you ever forgive me I just want to confess all questions to you. And save at least give me apps solution can give you is usually less so it's all okay. You didn't know what what's amazing about that title is that it is. There's always the risk if it's a gift to critics to annihilated because it says can you have to give me you know if you pay for them over it could be. You know I will now I think yeah well right bill. We in the critic world always tried to avoid the gifts that would give them usually easy. You're now and luckily for you through this with a three if you really yeah so it feels good when that happens right. He does and it's always a surprise because. I think it's it's maybe like during the credit going dating what. You begin a movie with the best intentions and you hope that it's gonna work and then you know. Very often happens that it doesn't look so the fact that this won't pass. You know this little twentieth issue in the old wells went. Has now had to listen to critical mass behind it. Is. It's of major relief in contrast to hot simple terms. Congratulations on your back. Good in the coming together into the critics alike wake up it is I. They choose yet yeah okay chief of hotels and two yet he's still got time to time that we never get back. But that wasn't the case with ten forgive me when you read it you said watt. I could do this I was not work with Melissa McCarthy. Well. You know when I first so is this going to be because it was a true story I wondered at what level it's going to be. Pitched as a kind of Melissa McCarthy vehicle to play. A a more comedic. The according to the percent of that we've we've become. Used to seeing Aaron. It's it's a reading that this was a true story books. The entire center of gravity of this character who like was the voice was deeper everything was kind of rural grounded. Sort thoughts. I was very curious to see one of what I tips is due to cost. What level shoes can do this. She left and a vestige of fantasy pool. Doubts comic persona that we group known love so much of the door and she completely. And dresses itself would lead Israel to remarkable extent I feel that I think. It's transforms of what she's done. But I mean I should say you know in in introducing it that Melissa McCarthy's plainly Israel who you know did. Write a series of biographies. And then. Falling on hard times as writers will duke took to basically forging these letters from famous for writers and selling them now. And then. She brings you into the fold who are you who is this guy your plane. This guy was a basing it kept a manic. Petty drug dealing. Oh Chama to so tech test yup gathered his way around Greenwich Village in the early nineties he's HIV positive. Cues from Portland in Oregon. I said in my director on the but I frosts have human exchange with. A sense of my plant what so where'd he come from and she said I want you not to play him as an American I was it was a real policy. She said the up and nobody would confront nobody that knew him. All his friends died of aids so I think it found his descendants. You play him as with your and accepts so there was no argument about that. So I was displayed some of those by Charleston about doing crimes Eric accepted but it's vegetable that's. That's as much as I knew that he died in 19940. And that have been that this great accompanist that. What she had been. Rumbled by the FBI for forging all of these lessons she then needed the remaining left is that she had to be fence that the chief of time and money. So she used Jack call there's a casual play to go do this and I know from how a memoir that he oversee have a real talent float schmoozing people because. She would expect him to come back with full 500 dollars for less we come back to ground so I knew that he had some way of this carry in their errands. You have found don't think that lets people of that money like Megan so. But while that's dubs a clue. So what he does. Well you know Richard that in doing this and that when the movie opened there's all this Oscar buzz about UN us. Does that affect you Peter Hammond hall I have never I'm. I'm essentially what's you know on Google refers to as a veteran journeyman actor in that around for so long. Hands. I've never been apart from being in that also will cost for the cost of popular twenty years ago that got the sag award for best. I'm I'm not somebody that has the Korea this. Beam. Lifted with nominations and awards. Although I've been an avid watch oval these awards shows have since agreed. Now that I hear this stuff is genuinely feels like it's. It's about somebody else to understand what its vote can't be Melissa yeah as I think it's. It's partly to do with this. This thing that I've noticed in many practice of having. Launch ego on the one hand and low self esteem on the which sounds like contradictions breezes like doing. Give me Mitchell of a pizza but then the moment you've got the Jules B think I'm not worthy it should be it should have been peace. It's that's if you get rid of that should've been Peter Hart yeah but I thought you know I don't need to be disingenuous about that it is a genuine you know I'd that's that's. Genuinely what it feels likes. The fact that this is happening and might. You know and phones today. Is a complete surprise to me. Genuinely it's a I hadn't. Nothing. Compared to. So have you now prepared speech that everybody's artists and this is in the bat he went tried out of coastal outcome mom. I thank all the little people that helped me get here a lot of the way. The I think. But there's something I wanna ask you because they could be pocket but I don't know about this but. First time I saw you in anything was Whitney and so that's like my birdie doesn't he has it didn't play which Yahoo!'s it total truck. And now you're drinking. Tremendously in the S and yet you have what allergic reaction alcohol. Yeah I've never ends on route system suppresses alcohol also can keep nine minutes is the longest. Managed to keep an eight down my throat. Without it coming out as a person culprit about it. So there's no real research into these parts for you where you could do this live observation. There's an observation. You know where you do you gets do you do you drink. Yes I can have it without projectile vomiting OK when you know that moment that that somebody who's. Have a had a lot to drink that's an enormous concentration on focus if just trying to get through that dole and that's in itself seems to me. That Pluto. To do it. What Doyle it's different it's after the attack. You have no idea yet but when you come in when you're doing witness and they say we you gotta be this total drug usage I can do that what do you just tell them the truth. I did tell a direct to the truth and him being saved this Bruce Robinson who wrote and directed them they remind him from Korea. He insisted and the camera this pretentious phrase of saying you have to have a chemical memory Peta of what it's like to be absolutely love out. So you. He sent me her with a bottle of champagne and said you drink this. In between pharmacy all night and come into work the next day for final Russell's. Sordid pasts and I was drunk so I have experienced what it is to be drunk but that was very painful a cost out from it. It's too there's too much suffering involved dealers successes don't. Think now it looked and did pizza by all of this. With Hudson hawk somehow in the middle of all of these I was inducted at one. You know it's somebody who's followed the things that you've done especially when you write about your XP PX's of doing Whitner was what with now. Her diary of the. Gary cope with nails it with it was it started from. First of automated which you just talked about in 1986 and then it went through to work in Hollywood films you know than in these it was a sort of H is that if somebody who's never done a movie who then ends up in Los Angeles just the trajectory of that. You're done you know bitter and destroyed you know I would've taken up drinking despite the given what you went through especially. I want to bring up or wallow which she did do that while it tires have them with this issue who you're doing a movie you're directing and writing about your life. And your life. He's still on belief. That even if that's another movie but I do you go and feed that and you'll see Gabriel burn players. But can you talk a little of that about where you grew up and you know where this person I'm looking at now comes from. Okay I could Tommy's racial I grew up in an odd article Swaziland which is the smallest country in the Southern Hemisphere. And it was a British protectorate in the low skills that the British empire in the late sixties what followed was the head of education which is why would school. Guns. He. When I was eleven years old I woke up on the back seat of McCaw and soul my mother. Charging my foes best friend on the front seats. Which is what do lots of breasts even your child and it would order I think there's ever exactly right. So that began my diary keeping because I couldn't tell anybody I tribes thought I'd vote no also. I couldn't tell my friends so vacant hotel a counselor at Dari it was a way of keeping its somehow made its. Real present the what some of the Hizbul witness to it even if it's myself and so as a result of becoming dollars deficits. What's my mother had left. My father to send it into. Very violence. Optimism by nights and mr. charmed by day and it culminated when I was fifteen years old. And to the crates of scorched out of sync at midnight. Trying to as a way to try to stop him drinking. And he had a gum. He tried to shoot me but he was so drunk that he missed even a become was literally. My forehead and the payment to pulled the trig yeah. It did that senate which is why I'm here to tell a tale how many decades of therapy. For a I had a nervous breakdown was forced he has old. The price weighted. Took took time to build up and then I have eighteen months of psychoanalysis selective psychoanalysis yes. With a subsidy brilliant man who Crist of about those who is from California. But what's in them. And he. He fixed my head so that I understood what happens. Once you have an understanding of something which I think is exactly what happens in. You know the screen that can you give me that when you understand why people do what they do then compassion and forgiveness. Flooded and that's exactly what happened to me it's I have often surgeon says he isn't my mama. The adulterous. We have a proportional so for which I'm very very grateful which is why massive sane and healthy. The place to be a tipping it right. You know Richard there's so many stories about you pert and to have you here to ask about this kind of great there was another story. About your keen sense of smell yes witnessed this come from. Were you born with us. I never understand why people don't smile evident because you see animals which I grew up around they smell everything. Salute to not smell something is however a list of the world also a litre of being led by minors or my life which is on the back to my perfume. Raines I created four years ago but what happened was that was when I was twelve is old enough to 69. I had a huge crush on an American coastal Betsy class. All right it's what's never met American before. In the along Soledad aluminum sort of the American with some most exotic glamorous thing possible to me. So dude I try to make. If you must have gone to union rose pedals bought a potential rewards. Seal the gem Joe's two colts you know ten mystical. Certificate and other words of a four decades to do it professionally. It's think of cards gift I've known should I did I didn't that give it to because it was so fast it was she never got it I'm mentioned that's was curious I've never seen inside a senator since I have no idea what's happened. I think wherever you wore please write them please let us know what's going. You might perfume business ditch your acute sense of smell sometimes really. Poppy. Enough yet because like identity and it shall close a functional does and she's the most repellent smell. Amenities so leave a room of people reaching them. So if I have dinner with friends of what the cheese course comes out about the duel for him to a good break through the stench is found. Aaliyah sow doubts just should I have to bring this up. Now and then that's the horsemen. If this career come for a it's just all over the truck. Let's pause I know I'm not because I think people do get drunk and just base in the yet. The realm that the whatever you know violence it's no I'm not drunk in the smallest wasn't. Large output cuts CGI. But if Beijing for what is extort about is that I soul the first one when I was a doctoral student in 1977. Was twenty years old. So if you were told me. That's. Four decades yeah late. I would be in one of them. In the ninth and finals I will. Saw. I would have said you needs. Mental health. That's if that's the sort of beyond the realm of and the possibility of tools that you Cuba aka the think that you can't tell anything about one. I was just gonna ask action rockets now with us now. Succumbed to an Italian. I would love to. How they punish you when you give something away what to do you with it we get fired I was told I was the first day. Clinton JJ Abrams that you your fire. He's done and want to hit. Every delegate it would he just pitches me on the shoulder and access write your idea to so that I know that I'm actually in this universe that. Palestinian. Because it is so completely unreal so or light or like tuna is that they said. If you have or Austin and I think its rule. The nineteen that the samba 29 T it's when it's released. I just shed. So. Much for that. What this is your first time on the show so you don't know really that we ended song but they couldn't prepare thing which makes me happy until I want the song that's in your heart Richard Ingram. So what the soul and you'll. Nobody cares what the song in my ID even though I think it with you finding the song would do well what also is in law. Now I can't I'm turning to. Doctor that you got a particular lock him up please if it died. But I want the one in yours I've done everything you passed. All the talking why not take all of me. All of that was as much as I'm getting is not a good one you know book if you sing. At the Oscars of the area. Because I won it all get me. Why not take all of these value at UC. I'm no good without you now it sits docked. At rich. Thank you so thank you about it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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