Continuing my dinner party series, here’s a fun evening with a bunch of fictional movie characters. I’ll try and make this soiree a little less deadly than the last one.
1. Withnail from Withnail & I
What sort of dinner party would it be without everyone’s favourite cantankerous alcoholic? Tragic, hilarious, offensive and permanently inebriated, Richard E. Grant‘s cult screen legend gets the first invite. Based on screenwriter Bruce Robinson’s personal experiences of London in the late 1960s, Withnail is the epitome of the dispossessed and disenfranchised artist in a world rapidly losing interest in art. Must remember to stock up the drinks cabinet and hide the lighter fluid.
2. Ruby Rhod from The Fifth Element
He’s a bit of a crowd-splitter, but I love Chris Tucker in pretty much all of his on-screen performances, and his portrayal of the eccentric metrosexual broadcaster Ruby Rhod in Luc Besson’s awesome science fiction romp is the best of all. No dinner party is complete without a fast-paced, slang-crammed, fever-pitched running commentary, and there’s no better movie character for the job. Not to mention those amazing outfits. I’d expect him to change at least once an hour.
3. Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding, the African Explorer from Animal Crackers
Any on-screen character played by one of the Marx brothers is essentially just one of the Marx brothers with a different name, but Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding (the “T” is for “Edgar”) is perhaps one of Groucho’s most memorable alter egos. I’m inviting him because I know that when he arrives he and all my other guests will be compelled to burst into stirring renditions of “Hello, I Must Be Going” and “Hooray for Captain Spaulding“. Also, I want the dancing, but perhaps not the slightly dodgy postcolonial politics.
4. The Dude (a.k.a. Jeffrey Lebowski) from The Big Lebowski
“Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude, in Los Angeles. And even if he’s a lazy man – and the Dude was most certainly that. Quite possibly the laziest in Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide. But sometimes there’s a man… sometimes, there’s a man.”
Because what all good dinner parties need is a man with old food in his beard who goes to the supermarket in his dressing gown. That’s a fact.
5. Robin Hood from Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Cary Elwes combines effortless comedy timing with classical good looks and some lovely floppy hair to create easily the most suave and dashing Robin Hood in film history. Kevin Costner can learn a thing or two. As Elwes points out, “Unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent.” Anyone who can pull off a pair of green tights gets a place at my table.