Rupert Everett’s Message To Young Gay Actors: Stay In The Closet!
While most actors are content to let their work speak for themselves and try to avoid interviews like the plague, Rupert Everett, who’s best known for playing Julia Roberts‘ gay best friend in My Best Friend’s Wedding and Madonna‘s gay best friend in the career-ending The Next Best Thing, likes to use them as a forum to unabashedly express his opinions on anything and everything.
Since the publication of his refreshingly candid autobiography Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins in 2007, he’s made somewhat of a third act of his career making headlines by speaking to the media without the usual filter. In the past, he’s gotten attention for defending Tom Cruise‘s belief in Scientology, calling the British army “wimps”, and this past June, at the height of Michael Jackson-mania, Everett announced that he thought it was for the best that the iconic pop star died, telling the Daily Mirror:
I think it was fortuitous that he died. He was supposed to be doing 50 concerts in London. It wouldn’t have mattered how good or bad he was. He wouldn’t have managed to do all of them and the press would have destroyed him.
The fact is that you could not be, and still cannot be, a 25-year-old homosexual trying to make it in the British film business or the American film business or even the Italian film business. It just doesn’t work and you’re going to hit a brick wall at some point. You’re going to manage to make it roll for a certain amount of time, but at the first sign of failure they’ll cut you right off. And I’m sick of saying, ‘Yes, it’s probably my own fault.’ Because I’ve always tried to make it work and when it stops working somewhere, I try to make it work somewhere else. But the fact of the matter is, and I don’t care who disagrees, it doesn’t work if you’re gay.
In the last decade, only a handful of male stars have publicly come out of closet and two of the most notable, Lance Bass and Neil Patrick Harris, did so only after blogger Perez Hilton had ignited intense media scrutiny regarding their sexual identity. At the time Harris released a statement that said,
… rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love.
Although Harris has found great success on television as a star of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother and, most recently, as host of the Emmys, he may be the exception to the rule. Everett says coming out still limits an actor’s career:
It’s not that advisable to be honest. It’s not very easy. And, honestly, I would not advise any actor necessarily, if he was really thinking of his career, to come out.
Sadly, he may be right. In still homophobic Hollywood, openly gay actors such as Everett are delegated to small gay roles, while closeted stars such as Kevin Spacey (it’s been a persistent rumor for years) get to make millions playing the leading (straight) man. It ain’t fair!