The inimitable Rupert Everett is back on our screens in The Name of the Rose, the new historical murder-mystery series airing Thursdays at 10/9c on Sundance (You can watch the first episode here!) He plays the Pope’s menacing inquisitor Bernard Gui, who considers it his business to keep an eye on Franciscan monk William of Baskerville (The Night Of‘s John Turturro) as he investigates a spate of mysterious killings at a remote monastery in the Alps. It’s a terrific role for the charismatic actor, who’s best known for playing the warm and witty best friend of Julia Roberts‘ character in hit 1997 rom-com My Best Friend’s Wedding. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance, followed by a second two years later for his turn in an acclaimed film adaptation of Oscar Wilde‘s An Ideal Husband.
Since then, Everett’s career has had its ups and downs, which he’s documented in a pair of very entertaining memoirs, Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins and Vanished Years. But in recent years, he’s re-emerged with a run of varied and interesting parts, including playing Oscar Wilde himself! If you fancy catching up with the always-watchable actor, here’s a guide on where to start.
The Happy Prince
This 2018 biopic about Oscar Wilde’s final years in exile was a true labor of love for Everett. He writes, directs, and stars as the famous Irish playwright, and spent a full decade trying to get it made. To do so, he called in a favor from old friend Colin Firth, with whom he co-starred in the 1984 romantic drama Another Country, a career breakthrough for both actors. “All the financing was reliant on him showing up,” Everett said of Firth, who co-stars as Wilde’s friend Reggie Turner. “And he showed up.” Thankfully, The Happy Prince was definitely worth the effort, and Everett’s performance as Wilde is a beautifully moving tribute to a great man ruined by the social values of the time.
A Royal Night Out
Here, Everett takes on the role for which Firth won an Oscar: self-doubting, stuttering King George VI. But A Royal Night Out is a very different kind of movie to The King’s Speech. Imagining a scenario where the young Princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) manage to sneak out of Buckingham Palace to enjoy the V.E. celebrations with their subjects on the London streets, it’s a silly but charming comic romp.
In the early episode of Black Mirror “Fifteen Million Merits,” Everett plays a reality show judge who may, ahem, have been modeled on Simon Cowell. But this is Black Mirror, so the stakes are rather higher than on American Idol or The X Factor: the episode takes place in a dystopian future where Bing (Daniel Kaluuya) spends all his “merits,” or currency, on enabling Abi (Jessica Brown Findlay) to enter the talent contest that could help them both escape a life of drudgery. Everett’s smug judging style suddenly feels suitably sinister…
Everett joined BBC America’s action-packed period drama for its third and final season, and he’s a treat from his very first scene. Playing Philippe Achille, Marquis de Feron, the corrupt Governor of Paris, he’s a deliciously wicked villain who sneers and schemes through every episode. When Everett gets to play a baddie, he really goes all-in.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Director Tim Burton‘s adaptation of Ransom Riggs‘ popular fantasy novel boasts an all-star cast led by Eva Green, Dame Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson, Asa Butterfield, and Allison Janney. Everett has an entertaining supporting role as John Lamont, an ornithologist who’s actually Jackson’s character Mr. Barron in disguised form.
Everett is lots of fun in this quirky British sitcom about Victorian doctors, which sadly ran for just one season in 2017. He plays Dr Hendricks, the pompous and slightly paranoid principal of a medical school dominated by show-off surgeon Robert Lessing (Bond’s Rory Kinnear). A memorably gruesome episode in which Everett’s character has a hernia removed shows off his comic timing especially well.
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