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Wah-Wah is a 2005 drama film, written and directed by British actor Richard E. Grant and loosely based on his childhood in Swaziland. Filmed and set in Swaziland, the film was premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival and also opened the Edinburgh Festival to critical acclaim. It received a gala screening at the East End Film Festival in London and received a limited release in the United States on 5 May 2006.


With this semi-autobiographical tale of his childhood in Swaziland during the last days of the British Empire in Africa in 1960s, Grant relates the story of Ralph Compton, whose family’s disintegration mirrors the end of British rule. After witnessing his mother's adultery with his father's best friend, Ralph must survive not only boarding school but also his beloved father's remarriage to Ruby, a fast-talking American Airlines stewardess, and his father's gradual descent into alcoholism.


Development and pre-production

Grant initially wrote the film loosely based on his own childhood experiences after a screenwriter recommended he write a screenplay after reading his memoirs of his Withnail and I experiences. The first meeting with a producer took place in 1999 and took almost seven years to complete. Grant initially had trouble securing actors; Rachel Weisz, Toni Collette, Meg Ryan, Emmanuelle Béart, Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Irons all turned down roles. Julie Walters was eventually the first actor to be signed. ...
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