Richard E Grant has said Julianne Moore was sacked from the Oscar-nominated film Can You Ever Forgive Me? because she wanted to wear a fat suit and a false nose to play literary forger Lee Israel.
The film eventually starred Melissa McCarthy as the biographer who turned to forging letters from literary luminaries after falling on hard times.
McCarthy was nominated for a best actress Oscar and Bafta, while Grant was nominated for best supporting actor gongs at both ceremonies.
Moore previously confirmed she was sacked from the film by Nicole Holofcener, the co-writer who was serving as director of the film at the time, during an appearance on US talk show Watch What Happens Live.
She did not give a specific reason why, saying: “Nicole fired me. I think she didn’t like what I was doing.”
The film was ultimately directed by Marielle Heller and Holfcener was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay, along with Jeff Whitty.
Grant told an Advertising Week Europe event in central London: “The original cast was going to be directed by Bob Balaban with Helena Bonham Carter and Sam Rockwell playing my part.
“Fast forward 10 years and then it was going to be Julianne Moore and Chris O’Dowd and then Nicole Holofcener, the co-screenwriter, fired Julianne Moore two days before they started shooting over creative differences and then Melissa McCarthy’s husband, who had been in the previous version and still played the same part, gave her the script to read and then she came on board and then I got cast so it was third time lucky for me otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
Asked later what creative differences means, he said: “Julianne Moore wanted to wear a fat suit and a false nose to play Lee Israel and Nicole Holofcener said ‘you’re not going to do that’.”
Grant said he owes much of his success to the fact he got parts that had been intended for other actors, saying Daniel Day Lewis turned down the role that made him a star in Withnail & I.
He added: “Then Sam Rockwell and Chris O’Dowd. It’s by chance, it happens, I’m grateful and aware of it.”
Grant also discussed the experience he had on the awards circuit in the run-up to the Oscars, which resulted in him meeting Barbra Streisand.
He shared a letter on Twitter that he had written to the singer and actress when he was 14 and then taken a selfie outside her Malibu home shortly before the ceremony.
Grant told the audience: “She replied via Twitter to me so when I met her at the Academy Awards I snogged her and went round for dinner and it was win win win.”
Asked if they are now great friends, he replied “like that”, showing crossed fingers.
Of the Oscars ceremony itself, he said: “It’s an extraordinary thing, being at the actual Oscars is like being at Madame Tussauds live – except some people do literally look like waxworks.
“It’s extraordinary because you’ve known them all your life as a moviegoer and so seeing all these people that you’ve admired or newly admire all in one room and talking to each other and most astonishingly, considering where I grew up in the tiniest country in the southern hemisphere in Swaziland, to be amongst them and they knew my name was absolutely unbelievable so that was a real pinch yourself thing.”
A representative for Moore has been contacted for comment.
Read more: ‘What a heartbreak’ – Chris O’Dowd lost out role to Oscar favourite Richard E. Grant due to ‘creative differences’
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