Richard E. Grant recently discussed the first time he met the Spice Girls on the set of Spice World. The Loki actor starred in the 1997 British musical comedy alongside the popular girl group, where he played the group’s manager, Clifford. Despite negative receptions upon release, the film was a financial success, breaking Super Bowl weekend box office records with over 10 million dollars in ticket sales and becoming a cult classic to audiences.
In the film, Grant’s Clifford, the group’s overworked and overstressed manager, has to juggle between ridiculous film pitches and the group’s anticipated Albert Hall concert. Clifford falls out with the group when they are denied time off to relax with their pregnant friend, Nicola (Naoko Mori), when preparing for the Albert Hall concert leading to the group storming away. Grant, who most recently appeared as Classic Loki in the Disney+ series, reminisced in an interview about his experience with the film, including what happened when he met the famous girl group for the first time.
When interviewed by Vulture about the film for their “Role Call” series of articles, Grant was asked about his first impressions of the group. He recalled that Mel B, also known as Scary Spice, playfully flirted with him before discussing how the group was quite approachable, easy to talk to about anything, and thrilled with the success they had. Grant also recalled the energy being hard not to get wrapped up in. He later talked about the crew having 4 Winnebego RVs between them during filming, but the group deciding they’d rather share one together. Check out Grant’s full quote below:
“I had just turned 40, and they were about half my age. And Scary Spice, Mel B, pinched my bum on the first day and said, “You’re not bad for an old guy.” [Laughs.] I thought, If that’s a seal of approval from the rowdiest of the Spice Girls, then I was A for away. They just seemed able to talk about anything. They were so uninhibited, and so thrilled with the success that they had, that it was hard not to be taken up by all that energy.
And the producers were absolutely thrilled because, on the first day, each of us had huge Winnebagos with a living room and just about every modern thing that a Tom Cruise Winnebago could have. And they said, “We feel lonely in here; we want to be with each other.” I certainly didn’t give mine up — it’s the biggest one I’d ever had in my career — but they all insisted on joining up. So, to the producers’ delight, they got rid of four Winnebagos that they no longer needed to pay exorbitant rentals on because they all wanted to be together all the time.”
Grant also discussed other notable cast members in the interview. The actor stated his favorite cameo was singer Elton John’s, describing how John was “born with the impatient button” firmly pressed down and how the singer’s scenes were filmed quickly to fit his schedule. He also discussed why the film was so successful with audiences, stating it wasn’t made for intellectual critics, rather it was made for fans of the band, saying “It’s popcorn, pop culture, unequivocally and unapologetically. I think it’s great celebratory quality is what comes across in the movie and why it’s such a global success.”
From portraying the scientist who created X-23 in Logan, leading the First Order in Star Wars, and now playing a weary Variant of Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief, Grant has had a varied career filled with plenty of unique roles. And it is clear that through his absolute enthusiasm over Loki‘s more absurd elements such as Alligator Loki, active social media presence, and fond memories of his time on Spice World, he has enjoyed every type of character he has portrayed, no matter how wild things may be. Seeing Grant’s excitement over these roles and his understanding of what audiences may lean towards despite what critics may feel, is a welcome reminder of the sheer joy people can find in film, both behind the scenes and on screen.
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