Rupert Everett is preparing to make his debut on Broadway in a revival of Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” co-starring Angela Lansbury on March 15, a role is he proud to have – especially considering how, according to Rupert, Hollywood turned its back on him after he went public about being gay.
The New York Times Magazine caught up with the actor as he searched Manhattan for the perfect six-month rental to live in during his stint on the Great White Way.
”‘Blithe Spirit’ came to me right out of the blue,’’ he said of his new theatrical endeavor. “I’m very lucky to be working… to have the opportunity.”
Rupert has had a rollercoaster of a career, filled with highs, lows, twists, turns and sudden jolting stops.
He has modeled for a slew of designers including, Versace, Valentino and Yves St. Laurent, and was named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2000. He has voiced characters in two “Shrek” film, even though he has only headlined one true Hollywood hit – 1997’s “My Best Friend’s Wedding” – in which he played Julia Robert’s gay best friend.
It was a role which, coupled with his openness about his sexuality, pigeonholed him into only playing gay characters and – according to the actor – killed his future as a leading Hollywood man.
“I wanted to be a movie star,” he told the mag. “I had a difficult set of circumstances to deal with, particularly for a movie career.”
When pressed, Rupert responds bluntly, “Being gay, really. It just doesn’t work.”
After he went public with his sexuality, Rupert alleges he was turned down for the lead role opposite Sharon Stone in the “Basic Instinct” sequel… due to his sexuality. According to the actor, an MGM executive told his agent that an openly gay actor would be viewed as a “pervert” in the eyes of American audiences.
Something the actor adamantly disagrees with, saying, “As actors we don’t play gay, straight… we play human beings.”
Another high — and then low point — for Rupert was his friendship and subsequent falling out with Madonna during the filming of 2000’s “The Next Best Thing.”
The 49-year-old actor said he made a lot of bad decisions and “burned bridges” while making the movie with Madge.
In describing his falling out with Madonna, he writes in his autobiography, “Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins,” “When she looked away, it was like sunbathing on a cold day and suddenly a cloud comes.”
According to Rupert, the two have since mended their relationship.
Looking back over his career, Rupert feels that the highs and lows from his time in and out of the spotlight have helped him become a better actor.
“You should be able to putter off and have a breakdown or be a heroin addiction, whatever it is, your particular problem of choice,” he adds “That’s what makes you an interesting actor, anyway. We’re more interesting if we are dysfunctional.”