Daily Mail - Daily Mail Weekend Magazine : 2020-09-26

NEWS : 5 : 5

NEWS

photograph­ed exclusivel­y for weekend BY NEALE HAYNES weekend 5 DOES! course of a year.’ Are there rows? ‘Well, she doesn’t like it if I try to do anything different with the garden.’ What does his mother think of the path his life take? He says she picks and chooses the parts to delight in. ‘She thinks I’m the most successful actor in the world. If I was compared to Robert De Niro, she’d say, “Robert who?” It used to really irritate me. She’d say, “Don’t be so down on yourself”. I’d say, “I am I am a realist.” ‘Now I feel very lucky. It’s sweet. At least someone thinks I’m the greatest actor. She doesn’t have a clear idea of who I am and the challenges I face. She sees what she wants to in my life.’ His mother will not be seeing him in new Channel 4 series Adult Material, airing this autumn. Leading the cast are Hayley Squires who plays Jolene Dollar, a mother-ofthree and seasoned pro in the porn industry, and Siena Kelly as a young dancer who wants to make it in blue movies. Rupert is Carroll With his former friend Madonna in 2000 Quinn, a po rnm ogu ls truggling to remain relevant as free content changes the modern-day industry. He’s a sleazeball, but an accidental one, says Rupert. ‘He’s essentiall­y a sweet man who gets bent by the wind in a direction that becomes quite lethal.’ It’s most definitely not one for Mother. ‘Oh no. It might upset her slightly.’ He really is divine when it comes to talking about showbusine­ss, and all that lies underneath the glamour. He has written two autobiogra­phical books now, and has a deserving reputation as a chronicler of celebrity. His third book To The End Of The World: Travels With Oscar Wilde is another romp. It charts his journey from actor to producer, telling the story of how he made his biographic­al film about Oscar Wilde’s last years, called The Happy Prince, and will be serialised in the Daily Mail next week. He charts the whole astonishin­g saga: how he snared top names like Emily Watson and Colin Firth, how he got funding (‘I lied through my teeth’). It was a rollercoas­ter, and it sounds as if it nearly killed him. Sometimes it sounds a bit Carry On Oscar Wilde. He tells how the vast production machine swings into action when Colin Firth is due on set, arranging Champagne and chocolates for his dressing room, but in the meticulous planning the car to pick him up is forgotten. ‘Poor Frothy,’ muses Rupert. But Colin Firth? Didn’t you hate each other? What was it he called you? ‘A monster,’ he says. ‘I a monster to him. I was quite horrible.’ At the time, back when they appeared together in Another Country, he called Colin ‘a ghastly guitar-playing redbrick socialist who was going to give his first half-million away to charity’. He despised him. ‘Actually I fancied him first, but then, as is my ‘The world was a rumpy pumpy one in my day’ his name – equivalent to almost £160 million today (The Weekend Documentar­y, tomorrow, 2pm, BBC World Service) not. did was wont, I stopped fancying him. The switch went out like an electric light.’ Why? ‘I have no idea. It could have been anything. Maybe he was too good.’ They badmouthed each other in interviews for years, but reconciled – fittingly – on the set of 2002’s The Importance Of Being Earnest. Then they starred in the St Trinian’s films, cementing a friendship. Getting Colin’s name attached to his Oscar Wilde film was paramount. ‘If he hadn’t done it, I’d have been sunk,’ Rupert admits. ‘I’d lied through my teeth to get everyone on board and all the ducks were in line and the financiers were in place. If Colin hadn’t done it, it would have been curtains.’ It takes much of the book to tell the extraordin­ary ride of making the film, and the twist is that the money does indeed run out. At one point Colin is going to pull out, his fee already cut in half. What does Rupert do? He asks his one-time enemy to forgo his fee fully to save the project. ‘And he agreed! Isn’t that amazing? Imagine doing a job for nothing. It was unbelievab­ly generous. He stood by me with no obligation to. He’s just a nice man. Thank God.’ What was Plan B? ‘I would’ve had to get JeanClaude Van Damme or something.’ He still has it – that edge – but he’s not the Queen of Mean he’s sometimes portrayed as. He doesn’t even slag Madonna off today, although he doesn’t fall over himself to say that they’re friends again either. ‘I can’t talk about her. I can’t.’ So has he mellowed? It seems so. He credits his relationsh­ip with Henrique to a certain calming down. He isn’t as obsessed with sex as he was, and thank God, he says. ‘The thing I was most afraid of was ending up at 70 in a tie-dyed T-shirt doing ecstasy in a club. I didn’t see an end to it.’ That’s a very negative spin on what sounds like a very carefree existence? ‘Well, a lot of us of my generation thought it was. Sex was freedom, but it turns into its own prison. It puts a barrier between people sometimes. The most intimate act, isn’t.’ Maybe he got bored with it? He gestures to his dog, oblivious on the floor. ‘When you’re a dog your curiosity about other dogs is endless, but when we get older all dogs seem the same. Maybe we get bored with it all.’ The people at the next table have left by now, which is a relief. ‘Any Continued on page 6 Rupert and his mum Sara in 2012, and (left) in Another Country with Colin Firth