Thursday 21 June 2018

Everett brings his gay 'saint' Wilde to the screen

Everett with the Taoiseach. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Everett with the Taoiseach. Picture: Brian McEvoy

Sorcha O'Connor

English actor Rupert Everett described Oscar Wilde as the "patron saint of gay people" at the Irish premiere of 'The Happy Prince'.

The film, written, directed and starring 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," Everett said.

During his press tour in Dublin, Everett said gay Hollywood actors were treated like second-class citizens and 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.

Experience

His film's production took more than 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," added the 59-year-old.

The film will be released in on June 22 and audiences can expect to be taken on a voyage through Wilde's mind and final times as he reflects back on a failed love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, played by Northern Irish talent Colin Morgan.

The film also stars Colin Firth and Emily Watson.

Irish Independent

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