Rupert Everett: Man With a Plan

Rupert Everett's movie career was launched a decade ago with films like Dance With a Stranger, and he has recently won acclaim for his performance in The Madness of King George. He is also the author of two darkly comic novels.


EDWARD MARGULIES: In your second novel, The Hairdressers of St. Tropez, you express a real distaste for Southern California. What are you doing living here?

RUPERT EVERETT: I'm putting myself up as a candidate to be a major star. I want to conquer Hollywood by becoming the first openly gay leading man in films-- it's time someone did that, without all the lying. Can't we tell the truth about who we are?

Q: You once said you'd like to work every year or so, and only on projects of "consequence." So how does your new film, Dunston Checks In - a comedy about an orangutan - fit into that plan?

A: I'm not an art snob: I don't have anything against doing a movie for kids. After making The Madness of King George, I decided I'd like to be known as both a leading man and a character actor. Dunston Checks In gave me an opportunity to clone one of my big heroes, [comic character actor] Terry-Thomas, and see if I could make him work for me.

Q: Which Dunston co-star was tougher to work with, the orangutan or Faye Dunaway?

A: We've all heard the stories, but Faye Dunaway wasn't her mythical, monstrous self. And the orangutan was more pleasant to work with than a lot of actors I've known.

Q: Having seen you onstage, I'm wondering if you have any plans to do theater again soon.

A: Last year in London I played the female lead in Tennessee Williams's The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore. Hopefully I'll do that in New York this year. It's a sensational part.

Q: Are there other women's roles you'd like to tackle?

A: When my first novel, Hello Darling, Are You Working?, is filmed. I'd like to play both the male lead and his mother.

Q: In that novel, you seem to be saying there's no difference at all between actors and prostitutes.

A: You raise statues to one and put the other in prison, but what's the difference? The hustler is selling his body, the actor is selling his emotional memory. Neither job is ideal. The only bigger hustlers than actors are journalists--now, they're whores! Of course, nothing wrong with that: I'm a journalist myself.

Q: I've read that, in your past, you hustled. You've been paid for sex, but have you ever had to pay for it?

A: No. not yet. I can imagine having to, someday, and I have no attitude about that. Sex is sex.


Edward Margulies