Rupert Everett has given scorched earth interviews before, but none like the one he gave the BBC this week, criticizing Hollywood and its “powers that be” for shutting out homosexuals like himself and protecting favored movie stars like Jennifer Aniston.
The outspoken actor said, among other things, that Hollywood is “very, very conservative” rather than liberal, and that staying in the closet is the right choice for many gay actors.
As for Aniston, he said she “is a member of that club” that is protected by the people who run Hollywood. He also criticized his fellow actor Colin Firth for taking roles that gay actors would normally seek; ironic, because Firth was the guest editor of the BBC segment.
We’ve transcribed the six-minute interview (the BBC has the audio here) so you can judge for yourself. It picks up with Everett speaking:
Everett: Show business is ideally suited for heterosexuals. It’s a very heterosexual business. It’s run mostly by heterosexual men. There’s a kind of pecking order. The position of women in show business is a pretty difficult one.
If you look at the idea of a drunk woman on the skids in show business at 50, and a drunken man on the skids in show business at 50, the drunken man gets an awful lot of support. And the woman is a slut. Still.
Evan Davis: Isn’t Hollywood liberal? Republicans are always criticizing Hollywood for being liberal.
It’s very, very conservative, Hollywood. It pretends it’s a liberal world. There’s nothing liberal about it at all.
Does a woman care if an actor is homosexual?
No. … But the business is what makes the stars, really. If you look and analyze the careers of many many stars, you’ll find they’re mostly sustained by the business…. I’m not going to start naming names, but you’ll find there’s lots of women and lots of men in that the powers that be decide are the right people for their business. And will stand by them for quite a long time. Ok, something will go wrong – Jennifer Aniston will have one too many total flops, but she’s still a member of that club. She’ll still manage – like a star forming in the universe – and will suddenly solidify into another vital, tasteless rom-com that will glitter next to the Crab nebula.
Colin Firth and other straight actors have played gay roles. Do those performances stick out?
Colin Firth I don’t think was at all good in 'Mamma Mia.' I would have thought it was a careericide performance… On the other hand, his performance in ‘A Single Man’ was the best performance of his life.
Has he deprived gay actors of roles?
Yes he has, in one sense. Now a lot of straight actors are actively searching for gay roles because it’s something different to do. I think that’s fine. It does mean the gay actor who used to just get the gay part has been reduced to drag, really.
Every gay person has great memories of coming out. When you came out what was the professional reaction? Did people say things, did they look at you in a different way?
Nothing very much, I never got a job there really, after (coming out). And I never got a job here. … The second film I did was 'Dance With a Stranger,' with Miranda Richardson. It was very successful, and then I never had another job here for 10 years.
In Hollywood, gay actors listen to your advice. Some have decided for whatever reason that it’s better to do a Rock Hudson.
I don’t blame them, I think that’s very sensible. If I hadn’t been someone who liked going out, a kind of sex maniac and wanted to go to raves and circuit parties, I’d definitely have stayed in the closet as well. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It would have been too complicated for me to tell the lie.
My literary agent, Ed Victor, asked the only proper producer in England, and said… ‘Can’t you get roles for Rupert?’ He said, “I wish I could, but there’s nothing he’s right for.’ That’s the level of phobia about me… Compared to Hugh (Grant) or Colin (Firth), I’m more or less in the same territory. The feeling from him, he thinks of me, he looked at me as five years ago, as a musty queen, and that’s that.