Rupert Everett is suddenly on a roll. He voices the foppish, hair-tossing Prince Charming in Shrek 2, the biggest hit of the year and the top-grossing animated film of all time. (It comes out on DVD on November 5, joining the just-released special edition of his breakthrough 1984 film, Another Country.) The out actor is also on-screen in the key role of a cross-dressing King Charles II in the current Oscar hopeful Stage Beauty, with Billy Crudup and Claire Danes.
Soon, Everett will join Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson in Separate Lives, the directorial debut of Oscar-winning Gosford Park screenwriter Julian Fellowes, and will reunite with Another Country's director on A Different Loyalty, with Sharon Stone. There's also that MIA Russian epic he made with the legendary Sergei Bondarchuk (War and Peace), and he voices the role of the Fox in the anticipated blockbuster The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Is it any wonder Everett's exhausted when he arrives spot on-time for a chat at a restaurant in Manhattan's West Village, where he currently lives? Everett, who's greeted in Italian by the staff, who know him on sight, is very polite and quite comfortable and candid. Maybe it's that second declared bankruptcy. "It's tremendously releasing," he assures The Advocate. "I can't advise it too strongly."
Do you like politics?
Yes, very much.
I don't know how you feel about Tony Blair. We wanted him to be our president at first.
Blair is a mystery. I think God plays a role in this whole thing. I was talking to my mum the other day, who is a staunch Republican. We were having one of those mother-son arguments about politics that don't go anywhere. I said, "What do you think George Bush and God talked about that time when George Bush asked about going into Iraq? Mummy, do you really think God said, 'Yes, you should go and lop off some Iraqis?'" And my mum went, "Well, you never know. He's a very funny man, God."
My father is slightly to the right of Mussolini.
My mother is slightly to the right of Imelda Marcos.
But not as many shoes?
In Stage Beauty, you play your own son, which is fun. [Everett plays Charles II, while in the 2003 British film To Kill a King he played Charles I, that monarch's doomed father.]
That was really fun, playing the son of a father in Stage Beauty. That was what I liked most, because in the category of your own work, that's kind of a fun thing to do. Also, to play scenes where you're talking about your father and you're imagining yourself--it's great. For someone who is not a Method actor, I thought it was about as methodical as I could possibly get.
Now you have to play Cromwell, who beheaded Charles I. I know you went to Catholic school. Did you practice, or are you practicing?
Am I a practicing Catholic? No, I'm a practicing Buddhist.
Not even for your mother at Christmas?
Yes, I do [go to church then], and I love Christianity. But the Catholic Church and Christianity in general I find unsatisfactory, because since the third century they've been hijacked by neocons. If you look at Christianity before the third century, you discover a very different thing.
You were on the cover of The Advocate in January 1998, and you didn't seem interested in carrying the gay banner and saying, "I'm the out gay actor, and other people should come out too." But is there any disappointment that there haven't been more people coming out?
Well, selfishly, less is more for me, right? [Laughs]
You get to be the gay actor. "Get me Rupert!"
I don't think it's something I'd advise.
Not in show business. Not in a trophy business like Hollywood. I don't think it's ideal. I think it's very lucky for me to have been English and to have the opportunities to work in all the various different places that I could so I could keep going. …