Getting to be part of a Star Wars movie in any capacity must be one of the biggest endorphin rushes in existence. Getting to act in one must be like transcending to another dimension of pure ecstacy. That's essentially what it felt like to Richard E. Grant when he learned that he had been cast in Episode IX, which is being directed by J.J. Abrams.
Grant recounted the story on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, stating that his audition was performing a 10-page interrogation scene from a 1940s British B movie. He was asked to show as much versatility as possible in his delivery of the scene before it was sent off into the digital ether. Some time later, he was asked to show up at a meeting at Pinewood Studios, where Abrams was waiting to break the good news.
"J.J. was sitting with Daisy Ridley and said, ‘Hey! Great. Come in. So you’re gonna do it?’ and I said, ‘Do what?’ And at this point the room went upside down, and I’m sure he was telling me in detail what part I was playing and what the character is called. I have no memory of that whatsoever," the actor said. "I just kept thinking: 'I might be in Star Wars.' I kept waiting for him to say, ‘Well, you’re going to come in and stand in for somebody else, because we need somebody to test who's your height or your age or whatever.’ But no, they kept saying, ‘So you are gonna do this, aren't you?’ and I said, ‘Of course I’m gonna do this.’ ... And I still didn't really believe that it was gonna happen. Such are my paranoia that you can shoot stuff and then be cut out of it."
The actor, 61, also touched upon the fact that despite Abrams' great power and wealth in the world of entertainment, the writer/director/producer is just as excited and down-to-earth as one could possibly imagine.
"I would have thought that the amount of success that he has and the amount of money that he has accrued—I don't know how much precisely, we know it's more than you or I will ever have unless you're an oil baron. On a daily basis, every time I've worked with him, I've said, 'Please, J.J., can you just pinch my shoulder [so I] know I'm actually here and I'm in Star Wars before I get cut out of the movie or whatever happens.' And he is as excited from Day One, when we began shooting on the first of August, as every time I've intermittently seen him. Even though he's directed [Star Wars] before and he's had such incredible success in his life, he is as wide-eyed in Baylon about it all as I certainly feel. That's very endearing, because it's very easy to be cynical."
Grant, whose screen credits include Spice World, Corpse Bride, Doctor Who, and Logan, can currently be seen in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms as Shiver, king of the Snow Realm. In early August, he released a video on Twitter, totally fanboy-ing over his chance to be a part of the Star Wars universe. He also denied rumors that he'd be playing Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Last week, John Boyega basically told Grant's tale of excitement last week, when Abrams told him he'd be joining the galaxy far, far away with The Force Awakens.
Star Wars: Episode IX opens in theaters Dec. 20 of next year. In addition to Grant, newcomers to the cast include Keri Russell and Matt Smith. Even Billy Dee Williams is getting back in the saddle as an older Lando Calrissian. Lastly, Abrams will utilize unused footage of the late Carrie Fisher from The Last Jedi to insert Leia into the trilogy capper in a respectable way.