With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E. Grant
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With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E. Grant

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  433 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Ten years after its release, With Nails and I' is a certified cult film, with the debauched and despairing character of With nail still a beacon of inspiration to disaffected youth. Hollywood beckoned the film's star, Richard E. Grant, and he went. With Nails is Grant's brilliantly idiosyncratic, witty, and revealing account of the film business and life among its stars. F...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Picador (UK) (first published 1996)
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This would have been completely fabulous if I were more interested in Hollywood. I had some reservations for a while, thinking I preferred it when I knew less about Richard E. Grant and had the image of him as Withnail-but-sober, but by the end I was completely won over by his wonderful blend of OTT campness, anxiety and moments of witty bitching tempered by his self-awareness and fundamental human decency. He made me interested in material I wouldn't otherwise have cared for. Straight afterward...more
This book is ideal for anyone interested in the day-to-day business of being a working Hollywood actor. It also helps to be a fan of Richard E. Grant and to be familiar with his body of work, which this book details from 'Withnail and I' in 1987 to 'Prêt-à-Porter' in 1994 (though the epilogue touches on REG's performance in 1997's unforgettable 'Spiceworld').

With Nails is basically a collection of REG's journal entries from his time working on these films and in-between acting gigs. The entries...more
My Japanese-fiction-athon was to have lasted until the end of the month, but I'm ending it early to read "With Nails" as a tribute to Richard Griffiths who died yesterday.


He's too kind! These nails are trimmed. Still fun, and interesting about how movies get made, but not a bitch-fest.
I have been a fan of this film diaries project since I read it upon its 1998 release, having been a big fan Richard Grant’s performances in two Bruce Robinson films (Withnail & I and How to Get Ahead in Advertising) as well as his smaller roles in films like The Player, LA Story, and Dracula to the schlock fests of Warlock and Hudson Hawk. I most enjoyed this book the first time I read it, as it seems to lose its luster upon subsequent reads (I had forgotten Grant’s excessive use of ALL CAPS...more
I really enjoyed the start of this book, but what made it so enjoyable in the beginning began to pall by the end, hence a 3 star rating.

Some reviews seem to focus on the use of CAPITALS throughout the book - which seems a petty point to me. Ok, perhaps he could have used italics or embolden the text instead, but perhaps you just need to work through these aversions people?

The book starts strongly: depicting his struggle as an actor, then through a quirk of fortune he gets a break: Withnail and I...more
Although I love Richard E. Grant's acting and this memoir does contain a LOT of truly funny and interesting anecdotes, I found it hard to persevere to the end of the book. Can't say for sure why I ran out of steam...

Except maybe I was a little disappointed to find that Grant isn't exactly what you'd call down to earth and that the hyper dramatic thespian is more a part of his autobiography than I would have liked.

But to be fair, how ridiculous is it to criticize an actor for acting too much li...more
There were funny bits to start with and I loved hearing Kevin Spacey telling his stories but the style of writing in this book was quickly getting on my nerves. Whenever Richard was repeating a conversation he had he WAS SHOUTING ALL THE WORDS OUT JUST LIKE I AM DOING AND IT WAS GIVING ME A DAMN HEADACHE!Every page had these lines and lines of capital letter ranting and it was bugging the hell out of me so I abandoned the book.
Remarkably candid and never less than amusing, REG (how he refers to himself) takes us through his breakthrough role (Withnail) and on, breezing past How To Get Ahead In Advertising but touching on most projects. Never apparently afraid to tell it how he sees it, this is a cracking read and picks up on some top quality films from the 80s and early 90s.
Susan Rose
This was a really entertaining look into behind the scenes, some sections were more interesting than others. The first third of the book talks about the process of making Withnail and I which is one of my favourite films, so that was great.

Essentially if you are fan of Richard E Grant or his films then I would recommend this.
Loved this. Genuinely loved this, he should be a novelist as his writing is wonderful and vivid it's also packed with humour bitchiness and the kind of behind the scenes knowledge and gossip that no celeb magazine has. I've never felt so relieved when someone got out of Budapest in my life.

Genuine must for everyone!
WITH NAILS is unlike any "celeb" diary publication, largely because it reads better than them. It reads like a novel, has touches of the Beat writers and a fascinating picaresque glimpse into the life of 'the actor'. Grant pulls few punches, which is what makes it all the more interesting.
David Tendo
Loved this one. I've always been a fan of Richard E. Grant, his memoirs that takes us through his experiences of being an unemployed actor, the times when he's making his best movies and his personal life is extremely funny, heartfelt and honest.
This started off promisingly but eventually it wore on me. Grant's a fine actor but his writing style is a bit grating - too many italics, too slangy and "Hollywood" in tone.
Richard E. Grant name drops and bounces through Hollywood after the minor success of his cult hit "With Nail and I." Great movie, hilarious guy.
One of my all time favorite 'not even guilty' pleasures. Read this years ago, and am still waiting for a sequel.
Very funny- his ascerbic observations of Hollywood, the film industry and some of its biggest stars are hilarious.
Karen M
Dec 08, 2008 Karen M rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Richard E. Grant fans
I am a huge fan of Richard E. Grant - this autobiography is pure hilarity - it had me guffawing out loud to myself.
Grant is as fun to read as he is to watch. His writing is very witty and he's deliciously arch and gossipy.
What I learned from this book...is that Hugh Grant is much much more charming when he's rude.
Oct 01, 2011 Brandon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hyper, bitchy Hollywood fans
Excellent. Glad I got the paperback version, which contains a "Spice World" postscript.
Nov 30, 2008 James is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Highly amusing, Grant's turn of phrase has made this very entertaining.
Justin Robinson
The exhausting writing style ultimately not worth a few toothless anecdotes.
I am sad to finish this book as Richard E. Grant is such wonderful company.
this made me laugh and cry in equal measures - i am a big fan.
Interesting snippets into the celluloid personalities...
Dieses Buch ist ganz einfach pure Liebe. :D
Day to day life on a movie set
Simply brilliant.
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