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Rupert Everett: Being Gay in the Movie Biz 'Really...Just Doesn't Work'

In a New York Times magazine profile in which he's followed house-hunting in New York City, Rupert Everett says that being gay was a major impediment to his career in the movies:

Everett "I wanted to be a movie star...You can’t say about work that I didn’t try very hard. That really wasn’t true. I’ve always been a great opportunist, but the opportunity was not always there. I had a difficult set of circumstances to deal with, particularly for a movie career...Being gay, really. It just doesn’t work...I was out before. I was never really in, I don’t think. Everybody sabotages their careers to a certain extent, not consciously, but I don’t think I have more than anyone else. People get distorted ideas of themselves; being in this business, you can’t fail to. Suddenly you think you should be playing the Marlon Brando role in ‘On the Waterfront’ when you should really be playing a Noël Coward role...I think success in show business is a very heady wine when you’re a kid, particularly if it happens small, because you’re always trying to make it grow. There’s no happy moment in it, because you’re just grasping and elbowing, elbowing, elbowing your way to the next stop. And you make lots of wrong decisions because of it.

Everett also says that studios' casting decisions are influenced by their presumption of the audience's homophobia: "The paranoid moneymakers know that when the star goes to the first night with his wife, the public sees that. They’ll accept someone playing gay because they know he’s really straight."

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  1. Ian McKellan gets work.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Feb 23, 2009 11:02:59 AM

  2. Let me play devil's advocate here. What if Rupert Everett failed at being an actor because his talent is mediocre at best? What if being gay and being a good actor could exist in one person who had a stellar career that shows no signs of fading? Oh hey! It does! His name is Ian McKellen.

    Posted by: MT | Feb 23, 2009 11:03:02 AM

  3. Bitter -- party of one.

    It didn't work for YOU, dear, because you're such an impossible bitch. The parade's passed you by, and a whole bunch of much more talented out gays and lesbians are leading it.

    Need we recall that NPH performed the ONLY worthwhile scene in the film you ruined, "The Next Best Thing"?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Feb 23, 2009 11:05:48 AM

  4. Jinx, MT, you owe me a coke!

    Posted by: Michael W. | Feb 23, 2009 11:06:20 AM

  5. it not all just because he's gay. his body type and questionable charisma just aren't leading man material. he could carry a movie as a young hottie, but after a certain age that won't cut it any more. he's a good actor, a nice guy, and fun to be around, but that doesn't necessarily qualify one to be a movie star.

    Posted by: voodoolock | Feb 23, 2009 11:07:39 AM

  6. Maybe Rupert just isn't as talented as he thinks he is. It's a lot easier for him to blame his lack of major success to being gay than to blame it on his dearth of talent. I always thought he was kind of a one-note performer anyway.

    Posted by: Mark | Feb 23, 2009 11:07:43 AM

  7. Ian

    add in

    The majority of Ian's work was after coming out.



    Ruppert should blame his acting chops a bit more and gayness a bit less

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Feb 23, 2009 11:10:07 AM

  8. sorry

    the majority of Ian's BIG money making work was after coming out

    toss all his previous stuff and he is filthy rich from just the work he did after coming out

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Feb 23, 2009 11:12:20 AM

  9. It's so sad that Everett is spending sooo many years whining instead of creating. Dude, if you're so talented and sooo underutilized, produce your own projects...

    Posted by: David B. | Feb 23, 2009 11:15:02 AM

  10. Rupert Everett: "I think success in show business is a very heady wine..."

    Make that a very heady *whine* in his case. Sorry for your luck, Rup, but your being gay/not gay has nothing to do with your success, or lack thereof. David E. is spot-on!

    (BTW--hi, David E! We used to chat on TableTalk, back in the day.

    Posted by: troschne | Feb 23, 2009 11:19:20 AM

  11. He's not as good-looking or talented as he thinks he is. Beside that, he comes off in the article as an arrogant bitch.

    Posted by: hank | Feb 23, 2009 11:20:33 AM

  12. Well, yeah, JIMMY, but Rupert is talking about "leading man" status. HIs honesty is painful...may honesty always is. Folks come at you like sharks.

    Posted by: Derrick from PHilly | Feb 23, 2009 11:21:08 AM

  13. Ewww, Michael W! What are you doing here?

    Posted by: Nick | Feb 23, 2009 11:22:32 AM

  14. I'm not sure the comparison to Ian works in many ways as he's not at a stage in his career where he's going after romantic leads, but I hear what everyone's saying here...

    Posted by: Scott B. | Feb 23, 2009 11:31:31 AM

  15. This was on Queerty...

    Rupert Whines and I can't stand the guy BUT he is right.

    Tell me ONE actor who is a leading man is a gay.

    NOT Ian Mck who is 60 odd and came out after he was in his 40's AND who isn't a leading actor!

    Nor NPH who is a TV star.

    But Rupert WAS a leading man in the UK when he was young...he was good....

    Posted by: Rowan | Feb 23, 2009 11:40:04 AM

  16. I'm sure that the fact his face now looks mildly bizzare and is barely recognizable since his overdose on botox has absolutely nothing to do with his lack roles.

    Posted by: Corey D. | Feb 23, 2009 11:40:23 AM

  17. ...or maybe in your case, it's because you're a pompous ass who alienated most of your professional Rolodex at the time your big break was possible.

    Obviously, homophobia exists in Hollywood, but Rupert Everett screwed up his own career.

    Posted by: Jay | Feb 23, 2009 11:43:11 AM

  18. scott B and Derrick (hi derrick)

    But maybe that is also the point. Rupert shouldn't be trying for romantic leads. Maybe he shouldn't think he should be 007 or whatever

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Feb 23, 2009 11:44:46 AM

  19. Ian McKellen is an accomplished character actor, but by no means a movie star.

    Posted by: JimSur | Feb 23, 2009 11:47:20 AM

  20. With whom are you confusing me, Nick?

    Posted by: Michael W. | Feb 23, 2009 11:53:56 AM

  21. "Tell me ONE actor who is a leading man is a gay."

    Tom Cruise.

    I jest. But really, why does one "need" to be a leading man? There is plenty of room for gay people in the acting community, obviously. They just need to decide if they want to be a real actor, or a celebrity.

    If you actually want to act, and thats your passion then you will never be out of work .If you want to be a "celebrity", you should join Paris Hilton and the local McDonalds opening and wait for paparazzi.

    Posted by: kitkats99 | Feb 23, 2009 11:56:26 AM

  22. why shouldn't Rupert have been trying for romantic leads when he was younger? that is fucked up.

    I have no doubt his sexuality probably played a big part in stalling his career--how many leading men who are out can you name?

    But he's on Broadway now with Angela Lansbury and Christine Ebersole, so he's trying to make it work. He can be a romantic lead on Broadway, where they're a lot more tolerant.

    Posted by: Alex | Feb 23, 2009 11:59:08 AM

  23. I don't know what to make of all the comments. From what I have read of Rupert and his history, he has been burned quite a bit, including being written off by people he considered his friends such as Madonna and Julia Roberts. Quite honestly, I have seen him act well enough, he was fantastic in "A Midsummer's Night Dream". As per his performance in that god awful "The Next Best Thing", that was more a factor of horrible writing, directing, and Madonna needing to be in the perfect lighting to make her appear younger.

    Regardless of what you may think about Rupert Everett, he does have a point. Ian McKellen is a CHARACTER actor, he has made most of his money from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and a few other films. McKellen is a fantastic actor who has been in the business for decades and most certainly did not make most of his money until his later years.

    Posted by: Cj | Feb 23, 2009 12:13:45 PM

  24. Although Rupert likely is an insufferable bitch, he's right. Ian is a 100 year old character actor, not a leading man. Rupert has every right as a gay man not to have to accept any limitation on his career, so why not pursue being a leading man? Penn just won an actor for portraying a gay man, so why can't Rupert or any other actor play a leading man? That's what I thought. And although I do like NPH, he is essentially playing the character Niles from Frazier, coincidently played by another gay man. Basically, the fussy straight guy immortalized by Felix Unger. Not a stretch for a gay man.

    Posted by: Stan | Feb 23, 2009 12:20:20 PM

  25. Rupert isn't bitching about not getting work, he's bitching about not getting the kind of work he wants. Well, tough shit. There could be any number of reasons for that, and being gay may be on that list, but I doubt it's the number one reason. I just don't see him as leading man material. He reminds me too much of George Michael for some reason--and not the gay part.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Feb 23, 2009 12:25:57 PM

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