Richard E. Grant says Julianne Moore was fired from 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' over a 'fatsuit'

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Credit: Fox Searchlight)
Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Credit: Fox Searchlight)

Julianne Moore recently revealed that she suffered the indignity of being fired from the movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Moore was set to play the role Melissa McCarthy ended up taking, that of Lee Israel, a struggling writer who begins forging letters supposedly from famous authors and selling them, co-adapted for the screen by writer Nicole Holofcener.

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McCarthy ended up being nominated for an Oscar, but Moore said things didn’t end well while she was attached to the project.

“I didn’t leave that movie. I was fired,” she told US late night host Andy Cohen. “Yeah yeah, Nicole fired me. So yeah, that’s the truth.

“I really think she didn’t like what I was doing… I think her idea of where the character was, was different than where my idea of the character was. And so she fired me. It’s pretty bad. The only other time I was fired was when I was working at a yogurt stand when I was 15. So… it felt bad.”

But now Richard E. Grant, who starred with McCarthy (and who was also nominated for an Oscar) has unveiled another side of the story.

And it involves disagreement over a fat suit.

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Speaking at an event for Advertising Week Europe, he said: “Julianne Moore wanted to wear a fat suit and a false nose to play Lee Israel and Nicole Holofcener said, ‘You’re not going to do that’.

“The original cast was going to be directed by Bob Balaban with Helena Bonham Carter and Sam Rockwell playing my part.

“Fast forward 10 years and then it was going to be Julianne Moore and Chris O’Dowd and then Nicole Holofcener, the co-screenwriter, fired Julianne Moore two days before they started shooting over creative differences.

Julianne Moore (Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Julianne Moore (Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

“Then Melissa McCarthy’s husband, who had been in the previous version and still played the same part, gave her the script to read and then she came on board and then I got cast so it was third time lucky for me otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”

The movie sadly did not convert its three Academy Award nominations, but it did win the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.