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

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  668 Ratings  ·  40 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
Sean Kennedy
Nov 28, 2015 Sean Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best showbiz autobiographies around, Richard E. Grant speaks through the page as if you are having a drink with a good friend and telling the craziest stories. The section on Hudson Hawk, and all its Hollywood extravagance and egotistical rampaging, is worth the price of purchase alone.
Dec 04, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
Mar 29, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-white-square
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
Sep 21, 2015 Babs rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think how you get on with a book depends, to an extent, on what you're feeling at the time you read it. Over the past few weeks I've been very busy and reading time has been at a minimum. Usually at times like this I need a book which will grab me and will keep my attention for a while. Unfortunately this book didn't, and I struggled to read 2 or 3 pages a night before falling asleep (hence why it's taken me so long to read!)

The book is a chronicle of Richard's (AKA "REG") time on his first fe
James Lark
Nov 05, 2016 James Lark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book which dives into the razzmatazz of the filmmaking, Hollywood and superstar celebrity could easily try one's patience, but this one makes for an immensely enjoyable read, thanks in no small part to Richard E. Grant's wide-eyed, childish delight at the glitzy, over the top world he finds himself in. His enthusiasm rockets off the page, and though it's hardly a disciplined piece of prose, somehow his hyperbole and caps lock excitement perfectly communicate the madness around him, even though ...more
Oct 26, 2009 Godzilla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 2011
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
Nov 03, 2015 Kiri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yep, it's official, I could not love this man any more. I am relieved that he is as deliciously eccentric in real life as he is on the screen. I read the section on Withnail and I with such gluttonous pleasure, I kept re-reading passages for their sheer perfection. The simple fact that Grant is teetotal in real life and yet played the best pisshead to ever live - is nothing short of genius. Not only did I love the madness behind the scenes of my favourite ever movie, I was bowled over by the per ...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
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.
Ellen Herbert
This is a perfectly entertaining read - lots of juicy stories and the sense of manic frenzy and eccentricity that is the movie industry. Richard Grant writes just as one would expect him too - addressing that which no one else does, funny, funny moments and observations and a kind of breathless anxiety throughout.
Aug 20, 2013 Dawniepants rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Sep 04, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, film
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
May 19, 2013 Susan Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Oct 29, 2015 Susie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read that at times gets a bit confused with industry garble, Richard E Grant's embellished diary leaves you in little doubt that he is one of Hollywood's good guys. Interesting insights veering at times into excessive name dropping for name dropping's sake. I'm off to buy Withnail and I stet!
While Grant doesn't manage to produce something compulsively readable, this is an interesting bio particularly for the tour of directors/producers - the impact of the personality and different methods of the people in charge on the actors and crew.

And a hell of a lot of names.
David Tendo
Aug 08, 2011 David Tendo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 10, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 14, 2013 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favorite 'not even guilty' pleasures. Read this years ago, and am still waiting for a sequel.
Nov 30, 2008 James is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Highly amusing, Grant's turn of phrase has made this very entertaining.
Interesting snippets into the celluloid personalities...
Grant is as fun to read as he is to watch. His writing is very witty and he's deliciously arch and gossipy.
Aug 10, 2007 Mrsmig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karen M
Dec 08, 2008 Karen M rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
What I learned from this that Hugh Grant is much much more charming when he's rude.
Apr 03, 2016 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written a good 2 decades ago, but still very entertaining. The name dropping was fun rather than annoying.
Jun 23, 2009 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very funny- his ascerbic observations of Hollywood, the film industry and some of its biggest stars are hilarious.
May 02, 2016 ColinJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful memoir that unfortunately ends at PRET-A-PORTER in 1994.

Where's volume two, Richard?
Jan 04, 2010 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, non-fic, 2010, movies
I am sad to finish this book as Richard E. Grant is such wonderful company.
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