Withnail and I/Trivia

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.


    • Both the stars have subsequently played the title character of Doctor Who: Paul McGann, the Eighth Doctor, and Richard E. Grant, the Ninth Doctor from the animated episode "Scream of the Shalka". Richard Griffiths had been considered for both the Seventh and Eighth Doctor roles.
      • It's also worth mentioning that Richard E. Grant also played the Doctor in the classic non-canon special Curse of the Fatal Death. He becomes the Doctor upon the death of Rowan Atkinson, and regenerates into Jim Broadbent.
    • A very famous Drinking Game is for the audience to replicate the drinks shot-for-shot. This means nine and a half glasses of red wine, half a pint of cider, one shot of lighter fluid (contestants are generally allowed to substitute another clear spirit), two and a half shots of gin, six glasses of sherry, thirteen glasses of whisky and half a pint of ale. And a hangover the size of Norway.
      • Actually you would probably die from alcohol poisoning before you could finish.
    • Paul McGann's character is not named in the film, although the script gives his surname as "Marwood". There is Lady Mondegreen Fanon that his first name is "Peter", as many fans have independently and distinctly misheard, "He's just had an audition for rep," as "Peter's just had an audition for rep."
    • Enforced Method Acting: The first drink consumed on screen is supposed to be lighter fluid. Vinegar was used in the filming (although it was water in the rehearsals), and the reaction of Richard E. Grant (who's actually teetotal in Real Life) was genuine.
      • Further to the Enforced Method Acting, the director insisted on getting Richard E. Grant utterly plastered with him before shooting started. Grant, who's teetotal due to not breaking alcohol down properly, got utterly plastered and, as Robinson put it, finally knew what it was like to be that drunk.
    • Hey, It's That Guy!: Marwood is the Doctor! So is Withnail, although not officially.
    • Memetic Mutation: The film is a virus that attacks the receptive mind, usually male and/or in higher education, leading to groups of people in pubs quoting the script at each other.
    • Reality Subtext: Something that makes the last twenty minutes even sadder. At the time, Paul McGann was an established actor and so he knew that he was still having a career after this movie. This was Richard E. Grant's first movie, however, so he had no idea if this was going to his one and only film or not and so he knew how upset and jealous Withnail was feeling. But as we all know, Grant's fears were unfounded and this film even managed to make him a sex symbol for a while.
      • Robinson based Withnail on his Real Life friend and actor, Vivian MacKerrell who actually did drink lighter fluid once. Robinson has attributed his friend's early death from throat cancer to this incident.
    • Screwed by the Network: Bruce Robinson's mistreatment by Handmade Films.
    • Throw It In: Withnail's grimace complete with a pork pie trying to escape from his mouth was completely accidental.
    • Word of Saint Paul: Via Twitter, Richard E. Grant said that Withnail's first name is Vivian, the same as the character's inspiration Vivian MacKerrell.
    • Write Who You Know: The film is based on Robinson's own life in London. Withnail is based on his friend Vivian MacKerrell, who later died of throat cancer.
      • Robinson maintains he received unwanted advances from Italian filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli whilst playing Benvolio as a young actor. Uncle Monty is loosely based on this experience.