10 Reasons We Love Rupert Everett, One of the Most Honest Actors Around
Rupert Everett is celebrating this week after earning a BAFTA nomination for his performance as a creepy porn producer in Adult Material, an acclaimed miniseries exploring the adult entertainment industry. It's just the excuse we need to round up 10 things we admire about this charismatic, talented, and very resilient actor.
1. He made an indelible first impression.
Everett's breakthrough came in Another Country, a play and then film based on the life of Cold War double agent Guy Burgess. Everett portrays Burgess during his school days, a period in which he bonds with a fellow outsider played by Colin Firth, and realizes that being gay will be a hindrance to his life and career. For his poignant performance, Everett was nominated for the Most Outstanding Newcomer prize at the 1984 BAFTA Film Awards.
2. He doesn't give up.
Everett has said it took him 12 years to secure funding for 2018's The Happy Prince, the Oscar Wilde biopic that he wrote, directed, and starred in. At one point, a top Hollywood producer told Everett he "loved" the film, but suggested that Philip Seymour Hoffman should play Wilde instead of him. "I was so upset, my world crashed, and I said no to him," Everett told Sky News.
Thankfully, his patience paid off when he eventually got a green light for the movie – with himself in the starring role. "It's been grueling but it's made me realize that the only thing really that counts is tenacity," Everett added.
3. Though they initially didn't get on, he and Firth became firm friends.
While promoting The Happy Prince, Everett revealed that Firth's role in the film was integral to securing funding. "Colin has done me the greatest act of friendship – without him the film would never have happened. He stood by it all the way through," Everett told the Daily Mail. "He signed on but it took years and years to get the money together. And he was the deal. It was about him taking part. So in a sense I owe the whole thing to him – as well as Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson and everybody in the movie. But Colin was the person that everybody fixed on. If he had dropped out, then my film would have collapsed. Which is a big responsibility for someone to have."
4. He's a fantastic story-teller.
During his 2015 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Everett recalled his hilarious night out with the late Princess Margaret, who apparently gave him the nickname "Leggy."
5. He's also brilliant writer.
Everett's first memoir, 2006's Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, is surely one of the best showbiz autobiographies around. It's definitely one of the most honest: infamously, he likens his The Next Best Thing co-star Madonna to a "whiny old barmaid."
Everett has since written two more memoirs, 2012's Vanished Years and 2019's To the End of the World: Travels with Oscar Wilde, both of which are witty, observant, and often deeply poignant.
6. He has an appealing self-deprecating streak.
During his appearance on The Graham Norton Show last year, Everett admitted that the Hollywood screening of The Happy Prince hadn't quite been a hot ticket. Thank heavens Dame Joan Collins turned up, though!
7. He nearly stole the show in the '90s rom-com My Best Friend's Wedding.
Everett received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for his memorable performance as George Downes, the playful friend of Julia Roberts' character Julianne Potter. In a 2019 My Best Friend's Wedding Reunion interview for EW, Everett said the role was "a complete changing point" in his career.
However, he also admitted he was initially unenthused about the role, which director P.J. Hogan expanded during filming when it became clear that Everett and Roberts had chemistry. "When I got the part, it was literally two lines in the script," Everett said. "I thought it was kind of a career-icide move at first. P.J. Hogan made me test, like, three or four times for the film. I kept saying, 'P.J., what can I do? There’s nothing I can do.'"
8. He has spoken out about homophobia in Hollywood.
"There are tons of roles that I haven't got for lots of different reasons, some of them probably for not being a good enough actor or doing a lousy audition, all that counts," Everett said in an interview with the Press Association. "But there were three or four big films, when I was successful, that the director and the other actors wanted me to be in and that I was absolutely blocked from by a studio, just for the fact of being gay. That does absolutely happen."
He added, putting a positive slant on the situation: "But at the same time, it has been the making of me as well. The struggle that has forced me to have has been great, in a way. I think my career as a writer would not have happened if I had been heterosexual, active, working non-stop."
9. He's the voice of Prince Charming in the Shrek movies.
It's an impeccable piece of casting, in all honesty.
10. And finally, he's completely honest about his rollercoaster of a career.
Speaking about the difficult patch he went through after The Next Best Thing became a high-profile flop in 2000, Everett told The Guardian: "It’s like snakes and ladders. Career death is rather like real death, so it gives you an opportunity to see what real death feels like. One minute, you’re careering round the corridors of power, and everybody’s going: ‘That’s a fabulous idea.’ The next minute, you’re still careering around but you’re like the Canterville Ghost: everybody’s walking right through you and you’ve died, and you didn’t realize."
Do you have a favorite Rupert Everett role not mentioned here?