Richard E. Grant says playing a drag queen gave him "sleepless nights"

Richard E Grant, who previously said that he believed gay characters should be played by gay actors, has said he was "in terror" of playing a Sheffield drag queen – ahead of the film's premiere in the city.

By Steven Ross
Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 12:46 pm
Richard E. Grant stars in Everybody's Talking About Jamie.
Richard E. Grant stars in Everybody's Talking About Jamie.

Grant stars as drag queen Loco Chanel in the new movie for the West End hit Everybody's Talking About Jamie, in which the lead character goes on a journey of self discovery that leads to him attending his high school prom in drag.

Grant had previously said in a 2019 interview with the Sunday Times: "How can you justify heterosexual actors playing gay characters?"

When asked by Travel Gay's Editor-in-Chief, Darren Burn, what changed his mind for this movie, Grant responded: "When I met Jonathan Butterell, the director of Jamie, I asked why he wasn't casting a gay actor or drag queen? He said, 'you have sad eyes'. He pointed out that the whole creative team was gay and we've decided you're the best person to play this part."

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"He said it was for him to make that decision and asked if I'd do it. So that's what I did. You don't want to be insensitive or seem like you're taking an opportunity away from someone else. I was in terror of doing it as it's so out of my comfort zone. I'd never done drag or a Sheffield accent. That made it frightening but also exhilarating."

"By the time you've been doing it for four decades like I have, to get something that gives you sleepless nights is a good thing to find."