25 years ago, actor Rupert Everett looked like he would be one of the biggest stars of the next 25 years. But then he lost it all. Was it drugs? Was it gambling? What did he do to throw it all away?
He came out of the closet.
Now 50, Everett is advising young actors to stay in the closet if they want to have a rich and diverse career. Speaking with the Guardian, Everett had this to say:
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.
Hit the jump for more and why Hollywood isn’t as liberal as you think (or it thinks).
Everett is 100% right. It just isn’t that Everett is gay. There are actors working today where almost everyone in Hollywood knows that the actor is gay but as long as mainstream America stays in the dark, it’s not a problem. Everett’s sin is that he decidedly to be openly gay. And that’s just unforgivable, and Everett doesn’t want to see young closeted gay actors making the same mistake:
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.
While undoubtedly outspoken and highly critical, I think Everett is spot-on about this one. Imaging an openly gay actor starring in a summer action blockbuster: He plays a straight character, he’s machismo pumped up to 11, and he’s kicking ass all over the place. If you know he’s gay, can you still accept him in that role? Be honest.
Hollywood thinks your answer is “No.” It’s perfectly fine (and Oscar-worthy!) if a straight actor plays homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual, but apparently it can’t work the other way around. And that’s beyond sad and while it’s great to champion gay rights, remember that in movies, one of the most pervasive and influential mediums of the modern era, it’s okay to be gay but don’t let anyone know if you want to have the same opportunities as a straight actor. And it’s okay if you’re an openly gay actor, but don’t expect to ever fulfill the range of your talents because Hollywood thinks we’re far too stupid to separate performances from personal lives. And with the insatiable craving for celebrity gossip and the ramifications it has on an artist’s career, maybe Hollywood isn’t wrong to have so little faith in us.
What’s worse is that this cycle will continue to perpetuate itself. The only way to possibly break it is to have an actor hailed as a bonafide action star and then come out of the closet. But that won’t happen because there’s too much to lose on a personal level and there’s no guarantee that other popular mainstream closeted gay actors would follow the brave actor’s lead.
Everett’s observations and advice may be harsh but it’s true.
Click over to The Guardian for the full interview which covers Everett’s incredible life beyond his unforgivable sin of coming out and trying to be a mainstream actor.