Jude Law is the biggest name connected with the caper comedy “Dom Hemingway,” acquired by Fox Searchlight, the studio announced Monday. But some moviegoers will be excited to see another name on the cast list: Richard E. Grant, star of the 1987 cult classic “Withnail & I.”
Grant played the title role in that film, a dark comedy about two struggling actors who embark on a debauched weekend in 1969. (Paul McGann played the unnamed “I.”) The movie became a cult classic thanks to Grant's unhinged performance as a self-aggrandizing troublemaker with a hedonistic streak and a gift for flowery speeches. His closing recitation of a Hamlet monologue (“What a piece of work is man!”), screamed at a den of wolves in London Zoo, was an unexpected tour-de-force.
By rights, Grant should have become the Steve Coogan of his day. Instead, he became a steady-working actor, popping up almost randomly in such movies as “Hudson Hawk,” “Gosford Park,” Madonna's “Filth and Wisdom” and “The Iron Lady.”
In “Dom Hemingway,” however, he appears to have a major role opposite Law. Here is Fox Searchlight's description of the film:
Jude Law plays Dom Hemingway, a larger-than-life safecracker with a loose fuse who is funny, profane and dangerous. After 12 years in prison, he sets off with his partner in crime Dickie (Richard E. Grant) looking to collect what he's owed for keeping his mouth shut and protecting his boss Mr. Fontaine (Demián Bichir). After a near-death experience, Dom tries to re-connect with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke), but is soon drawn back into the only world he knows, looking to settle the ultimate debt.
“Dom Hemingway” is scheduled for release in 2014.