Ru­pert Everett on facelifts, Cait­lyn Jen­ner and Madonna

Ru­pert Everett dis­cusses trans­gen­der pol­i­tics, facelifts, Madonna and throws an almighty tantrum for Camilla Long.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS - AWW

Should Ru­pert Everett have a facelift? It is a ques­tion he and I pon­der as we sit in the back room of a starkly lit trat­to­ria in Brook­lyn. Once the most beau­ti­ful ac­tor on the planet, Everett is now 57 and flumped like a clapped out calf­skin tote un­der the un­for­giv­ing lights. He is hardly the taut and an­gry sex doll he was, as a model for Opium and best friend to Madonna (1997-2006).

He took so many drugs run­ning around Paris, Hol­ly­wood and Mi­ami, he is wor­ried he might wake up with “de­men­tia” from any facelift now. Coke is “ter­ri­ble” for the brain, he sighs, and so are pop­pers, “my desert is­land drug of choice”.

So on one hand he is de­lighted to have found a doc­tor fa­mous for do­ing facelifts on pa­tients in a semi-con­scious “twi­light”, but on the other, “Can you imaahgine,” he coos, eyes widen­ing (a bit), “watch­ing your own face be­ing peeled off?” So many things could go wrong, but at least he could make a “very good” doc­u­men­tary if he woke up “a flub­ster with two lit­tle raisins peer­ing out”. He could stretch it out into a se­ries “on and on, hav­ing it re­done”. He gives a great whumph of laugh­ter, adding he couldn’t ac­tu­ally have a facelift, as “you can’t stretch thin skin”. He’d end up look­ing like “some­thing out of Tomb Raider”, so he’s not go­ing to “go for the knife and gun it on coke the night before” as promised. He is such a tease – it is like try­ing to nail a blanc­mange to pa­per.

For ex­am­ple: I am in New York to speak to him about his ap­pear­ance on the BBC’s third se­ries of The Mus­ke­teers, or, as he calls them, the “Musky Queers”, but I am so swept away by his facelift fan­tasies and filthy gos­sip, I for­get all my ques­tions. We get as far as won­der­ing which Mus­ke­teer we’d “go for” as we roll around in a limo. Everett would go for d’Artag­nan, but, he re­as­sures me, “there is a mus­ke­teer for ev­ery taste”.

He later tells me he might never have said yes to the Musky Queers if

he hadn’t been of­fered the job dur­ing a deep de­pres­sion. He was try­ing to get a film about Os­car Wilde off the ground, but it had “eaten me up”.

He was whisked off to Prague, where he was de­lighted to dis­cover that, far from a “crap job”, he could prance around corn­fields in a silk out­fit and heels, as Paris’s most evil aris­to­crat, the Mar­quis de Feron.

For a com­pul­sive voyeur such as Everett, “the set be­comes one’s own pri­vate Miss Marple episode”. There is a ton of “fab­u­lous gos­sip” and he can hang out with an un­lim­ited num­ber of hair­dressers. He can be “quite shy and re­tir­ing” these days, but he is never lonely on set.

Wait – shy? I’m not sure the man who once said [Bri­tish jour­nal­ist] Alas­tair Camp­bell had a nose made for “cun­nilin­gus” could ever be de­scribed as shy, but it is true that, at 57, the star of My Best Friend’s Wed­ding is en­ter­ing his clois­tered, dowa­ger-duchess phase. He is, as he puts it, “turn­ing into his mother”; he even plans to move back in with her in Nor­folk, where he will em­brace a soli­tary life, as well as “blob­dom”.

His hair is “okay”, but the rest of his body is “fall­ing to bits – my lungs are fall­ing to bits”, he moans.

Storm­ing up and down the stage of the Brook­lyn Acad­emy of Mu­sic,where to­day he is play­ing

Os­car Wilde in The Ju­das Kiss, he can “feel ev­ery cap­il­lary tens­ing. I scream the place down and I some­times get a funny pain in the back of my head. I think it’s prob­a­bly that fa­tal blood ves­sel.” Of course, he would luhve to die dur­ing a per­for­mance. He spends loads of time think­ing about death – “Oh, lots, I love death”– but in re­cent years he claims to have scaled back his self-de­struc­tive be­hav­iour. He lives two min­utes from his Brazil­ian boyfriend, a sen­si­ble sound­ing ac­coun­tant called Hen­rique, whom Ru­pert “rug­ger tack­led” after a four-year stalk­ing cam­paign in the gym. He has even stopped fid­dling with his face – or at least he says he hasn’t put any­thing into it since Madonna’s der­ma­tol­o­gist, Fredric Brandt, hanged him­self in Mi­ami. “I loved Dr Brandt,” he says.

He rarely throws tantrums these days. He’s more likely to fire off “drunken emails”. But God, please don’t tell me he’s got bor­ing? Au con­traire, as he might say. When our con­ver­sa­tion fi­nally gets go­ing, whoosh! Sud­denly the sul­phuric dag­gers come out and he heartily slags off ev­ery­one from Madonna to

Cait­lyn Jen­ner.

Jen­ner, he says, has made a ter­ri­ble mis­take un­der­go­ing tran­si­tion. “Poor dar­ling,” he sighs, sip­ping a cof­fee.

She had “no clue” what be­ing a trans­sex­ual in­volves. “When she dis­cov­ered ev­ery­one was ei­ther a drug ad­dict or a pros­ti­tute, she was ab­so­lutely hor­ri­fied.” Be­sides: “I don’t think she’s a woman. She’s a cross­dress­ing man.”

Ru­pert, of course, used to be trans­gen­der him­self. From the age of six to 14, he dressed exclusively as a girl (specif­i­cally Mary Pop­pins’s daugh­ter). “I re­ally wanted to be a girl,” he says now. “Thank God the world of now wasn’t then, be­cause I’d be on hormones and I’d be a woman. After I was 15 I never wanted to be a woman again.” He finds par­ents who

“get med­i­cal” scary . “It’s nice to be al­lowed to ex­press your­self, but the hor­mone thing, very young, is a big step. I think a lot of chil­dren have an am­biva­lence when they’re very young to what sex they are or what they feel about ev­ery­one. And there should be a way of em­brac­ing it.”

As a boy at board­ing school, he played only one male role the en­tire time he was there. By the time he ar­rived in Lon­don, he was a scream­ing, the­atri­cal mon­ster – swan­ning around in what his fa­ther, a re­tired ma­jor, called “that bloody sari”, he’d throw fit after fit. In what ul­ti­mately be­came known as “the pu­bic hair scan­dal”, he once chopped off a chunk of his thatch and sent it to a cou­ple in North­wood who had dared to send him a crit­i­cal let­ter. He flounced out of plays, wound up his co-stars, took limos to go just three doors down the road. He was “un­ruly” and “in­tran­si­gent”, snob­bish and self-ab­sorbed, ba­si­cally aw­ful. He hated any­one who wasn’t fab­u­lous, fa­mous or gay.

Part of the prob­lem, he claims, was Aids. He spent most of his life in a “to­tal panic” that he had caught it, es­pe­cially after flick­ing on the tele­vi­sion and see­ing a for­mer lover be­ing de­scribed as one of the first men in the coun­try with the killer dis­ease. It was 1983, only a few weeks before he started film­ing An­other Coun­try, the movie that would make him fa­mous. But al­ready Everett had gone “in­sane”.

Ever the nar­cis­sist, he fan­ta­sised the dis­ease would hap­pen to him on

All big stars are en­ergy eaters. They just look at you and schlloooop, you end up as a kind of crum­pled loo roll.”

cam­era. He’d be record­ing a close-up and some­one would spot a le­sion. “So then the whole kind of per­son­al­ity grows up, out of your fear at your predica­ment.” Be­ing an in­cor­ri­gi­ble “sex ma­niac” didn’t help, ei­ther. By the age of 16 he had gone straight from col­lege to be­ing a “leather queen” at the heart of Lon­don’s gay scene. He can­not re­mem­ber how many peo­ple he’s slept with, al­though “slept”, he says sharply, is hardly the right word. “A lot of my sex was ver­ti­cal rather than hor­i­zon­tal.”

After a test was brought out, he could fi­nally screen him­self non-stop and his fear of the ill­ness be­gan to sub­side. He now says it was a

“shame” Aids made him such a “catas­tro­phe”. By 1997, he had

“burnt so many bridges”, he was lucky to get fa­mous again, am­pli­fy­ing what started out as a three-line part into a huge suc­cess in My Best

Friend’s Wed­ding. He went on a vic­tory lap of Hol­ly­wood fol­low­ing its rap­tur­ous re­cep­tion, only to fall head­long into a second tow­er­ing act of self-sab­o­tage – de­cid­ing to be­come best friends with Madonna.

Everett’s de­ranged friend­ship with the Ma­te­rial Girl was one of the great mo­ments in the mil­len­nial cele­bo­sphere. It was made all the more de­li­cious when he fi­nally de­cided to stick it to “Satan” in print. But as Madonna’s “ami néces­saire”, es­cort­ing her to par­ties, he had a fa­tal flaw: he wanted to be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion as much as she did. It was stu­pen­dously toxic. “I was at my Hol­ly­wood peak and I was ev­ery­where.” Ran­dom peo­ple ac­tu­ally tried to save him, sud­denly jump­ing up from be­hind vel­vet ropes and say­ing, “‘Ru­pert, Ru­pert, come here, don’t work with Madonna! She’s go­ing to kill you,’” he says. “Be­cause what hap­pens with all big stars, is that they are en­ergy eaters. They just look at you and”– he mimes his face dis­ap­pear­ing – “schlloooop, you end up as a kind of crum­pled loo roll.”

One of the more wor­ry­ing symp­toms of his pos­ses­sion was a de­sire to act in a film along­side her – in 2000 he ap­peared in the worst film of his ca­reer ( A Crowded Field), a drama in which he played a gay man who im­preg­nates a yoga teacher played by Madonna. It was called

The Next Best Thing and it was a mir­a­cle their friend­ship sur­vived – he some­how man­aged to hang on un­til he pub­lished his first mem­oir in 2006.

He made the mis­take of think­ing Madonna had much more of a sense of hu­mour about her­self than she ac­tu­ally did, de­cid­ing to read her the book in per­son, even though he had writ­ten she looked like “a Pi­casso” and be­haved like an “old, whiny bar­maid” when stressed.

“I thought what I said about her was very charm­ing and gen­er­ous,” he says now. But as he read her the pas­sages, even he could tell “the iron fist be­neath the vel­vet muff was about to come out. She wrote me a text say­ing she was fu­ri­ous and we never re­ally talked again.”

He has some sym­pa­thy for her other vic­tims, in­clud­ing her son, Rocco, who re­cently re­fused to re­turn to his mother in the States so he could stay in Lon­don with his fa­ther, Guy

Ritchie. All of them ended up in court, each with their own lawyers.

“Can you imag­ine liv­ing on tour, with a gov­erness, in end­less ho­tels, and air con­di­tion­ing, pres­i­den­tial suites, fruit bowls, Cham­pagne buck­ets and some roadie brings your trunk in,” he sighs. “And your gov­erness is some hideous old hack be­ing paid £50,000 a week just to…” He pauses. “Emo­tion­ally abuse you?” “Kind of,” he nods. “And you’re long­ing to be a nor­mal kid?” Rocco’s life is not with­out its “chal­lenges”.

It is only when he later asks if I man­aged to in­clude a “healthy Madonna sec­tion” in the piece that I re­alise how much he must hate her. At one point in the 1980s, he thought he had been “sent to kill her” after lis­ten­ing to Jus­tify My Love and think­ing he’d heard hid­den Satanic

mes­sages. “I went cold all over. Be­ing brought up a Catholic, and in a monastery, I used to have vi­sions of Our Lady as a child. I thought: I’m meant to kill Madonna,” he gig­gles, “be­cause she was the an­tiChrist.” Hmm. Some­times you re­ally can be too Catholic.

He con­sid­ered blam­ing the col­lapse of his ca­reer on “Satan”, but now he is en­ter­ing his “cosy old queen” phase, even he ad­mits his suc­cess “was sucked out of me by my own fault. If I’d worked harder and been clev­erer. I was still a child at 45.”

By the time he lost Madonna, he had failed not only in Hol­ly­wood, but also in tele­vi­sion, with an ill-fated se­ries in Amer­ica called Mr Am­bas­sador, in which he tried to play a Bri­tish am­bas­sador op­po­site Derek Ja­cobi, who, even as they filmed the pi­lot, whis­pered the words: “I hope to f*** we don’t get picked up.” So he came back to Lon­don and rein­vented him­self as a chron­i­cler of fame and mis­for­tune, pub­lish­ing two bril­liant mem­oirs, in which he re­vealed that he man­aged af­fairs with both Paula Yates and Sir Ian McKel­lan, as well as the French ac­tress Béa­trice Dalle. At one point Dalle thought she was preg­nant, but it wasn’t to be.

“She and I often talk about what would have hap­pened if we’d both had this child,” he says now. “And I would have loved to have had that child, ac­tu­ally. God, it prob­a­bly would have been in re­hab by now.”

Everett’s books pro­vide a unique win­dow into a van­ish­ing world of sex and celebrity, where he would go straight from an all-night rave at a gay club to, for ex­am­ple, Joan Collins’s fifth wed­ding, “eyes like saucers”. He pours ter­ri­ble scorn on oth­ers, but he re­serves just as much dis­gust for him­self. His body is “all bones”, stooped, Gol­lu­mish, “quite scary”. Be­tween the ages of 48 and 52 he was in the deep­est grips of his sex­ual ma­nia, ter­ri­fied “I’d be one of those 70-yearolds in a tie-dye T-shirt tak­ing ec­stasy at a rave”. He is funny about his “hair­dresser mind­set”, but it is never quite clear whether he is the shriek­ing celebrity des­per­ate for pub­lic­ity or the by­stander drink­ing in the tantrums.

Ei­ther way, he still care­fully sur­rounds him­self with peo­ple who adore and wor­ship him and won’t an­swer back. Chief among them is his mother. Sara Everett is 82; she is a brisk, rumpty-tumpty ma­jor’s widow. As a child she spoilt him com­pletely – per­haps a bet­ter ex­pla­na­tion for his be­hav­iour than Aids ever will be. She ig­nored his im­per­ti­nent ques­tions (“What’s a quim, Mummy?”) and gave him her own clothes. He would force her to go to a local dress shop “to buy night­dresses and neg­ligées” for him.

Later I watch him lov­ingly layer on the make-up in his dress­ing room. He has spent “months” con­struct­ing his look for Wilde. He has a flow­ing wig and a spe­cially made fat suit com­plete with a cloth pe­nis and tes­ti­cles. He squeezes into the folds of the fat suit, smooches on a wig and sweeps out to give a spec­tac­u­lar per­for­mance to an au­di­ence of age­ing toy-dog own­ers and Woody Allen looka­likes – who are so thrilled to see him, they break into ap­plause when he first rushes onto the stage.

I as­sume the show can’t have gone bet­ter; wrong! Af­ter­wards the mood in the dress­ing room is thun­der. Everett (sem­i­naked) is hav­ing a hand-flappy, screech­ing, con­ti­nen­tal hissy fit.

“No matches!” he thun­ders. Some­one has for­got­ten a prop. “My whole per­for­mance is about my cig­a­rettes!” he moans, wheel­ing around in his Y-fronts. The ac­tor play­ing Bosie “didn’t even no­tice – he could have brought them on. He’s so self-im­por­tant!” Plus the au­di­ence were “hor­ri­ble”, the “worst au­di­ence ever”, barely rais­ing a tit­ter at the many won­der­ful mo­ments in David Hare’s play. “Silent bitches! I should have taken a shit on stage!” Where­upon ev­ery­one starts at­tack­ing each other. The direc­tor (small rose in lapel) sav­ages the pro­ducer for fail­ing to turn off his “f****** phone”. It’s like feed­ing time at the poo­dle farm.

Even when Glenn Close sweeps in – Everett is like a hom­ing de­vice, able to at­tract any A-lis­ter within a hun­dred paces – he does not calm down. By this stage he is com­plain­ing in more than one lan­guage: “Mon per­for­mance était com­plète­ment rien!” Close says she loved it. “It was a tour de force.” None of this has an ef­fect on Everett. He sits down and does a fat lip. It is ex­traor­di­nary – I have never met any­one who is both Bosie and Wilde. Ul­ti­mately he is per­suaded to go to the party in the foyer, which he had threat­ened to boy­cott. Where­upon he’s back to his old self, gig­gling about sex and Andy Warhol, who, ac­cord­ing to his as­sis­tant, “bloated to death”, while I tit­ter and won­der if he will also blame this tantrum on Aids.

I would have loved to have had that child, ac­tu­ally. God, it prob­a­bly would have been in re­hab by now.”

Film roles, from left: Ru­pert Everett in An­other Coun­try (1984) with Colin Firth; with Ju­lia Roberts in My Best friend’s Wed­ding (1997); and along­side Dame Judi Dench in The Im­por­tance of Be­ing Earnest (2002). Op­po­site page: Ru­pert and his mother Sara.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.