'The patron saint of gay people' - Rupert Everett pays tribute to Oscar Wilde at Irish premiere of 'The Happy Prince'
Actor Rupert Everett described Oscar Wilde as the ‘patron saint of gay people’ at the Irish premiere of The Happy Prince.
The film, which was written, directed and stars Everett, explores the final days of the writer's life.
Among those in attendance at Dublin’s Stella Theatre were Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, comedian Deirdre O’Kane, Yvonne Connelly and filmmaker Jim Sheridan.
Asked what it was that fascinated him most about Wilde, he said it was the story of his exile that stood out to him most.
“I love him as a writer, I love him as a character, I love him as a patron saint of gay people. I particularly like the story of his exile,” he said.
During his press tour in Dublin, Everett said gay Hollywood actors were treated like second class citizens and that he had been turned down from several roles for being gay.
“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,” he said.
“That does absolutely happen. But at the same time it has been the making of me as well.”
The production of the film took over a decade – something Everett did not enjoy nearly as much as trying on his directorial hat.
“I really enjoyed the experience – producing was the thing I didn’t like so much, it was such hard work and it went on for years, it was very depressing. Raising money is very difficult,” he admitted.
However as time passed, a labour of love for the story grew.
“It became something of a passion,” he added.
The film will be released in cinemas on June 22, and audiences can expect to be taken on a voyage through the mind and final times of Oscar Wilde as he reflects back on a failed love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, played by Northern Irish talent Colin Morgan.
The film also stars Colm Firth and Emily Watson.