This weekend at the movies, the audience will get a glimpse into the final days of in the tragic times of Oscar Wilde, a man who observes his own failure with ironic distance and regards the difficulties that beset his life with detachment and humor. The Happy Prince marks the directorial debut of actor Rupert Everett, who also wrote its screenplay. I recently sat down with Mr. Everett to talk about directing for the first time and playing Oscar Wilde a second.
Why did you choose The Happy Prince to be your launching pad for your directorial debut?
Well, I suppose because the story of Oscar Wilde in exile is one of my favorite tales and I found that when I was thinking of writing a script, I wanted to write something that I could put the whole of myself into and that seem to be the one.
Absolutely, considering that this is your second time playing Wilde. You first played him in the theatre, correct?
That’s correct. I played Oscar Wilde in the theatre because when I couldn’t get the movie together I thought maybe that I could show people that I could play the character by being him in the play. So that’s how that came about.
One of the toughest challenges a director or screenwriter may face is picking the right people for a supportive cast. what was it about Colin Morgan, Colin Firth and Emily Watson that stood out for you?
Well, they are wonderful actors and people that I’ve known for a while and that I’ve loved very much. That was the reason.
Since you played Wilde twice, what is one aspect of Wilde’s life that you want the audience to know more about?
I think the thing that fascinates me about him mostly is that Oscar Wilde is the beginning of the road to Gay Liberation. For anyone who’s in the LGTBQ community, Oscar Wilde is the beginning of the whole journey in one way strangely enough and that’s what I find every inspiring.
After directing your very first film, would you like to do it again and what’s the one piece of advice would you take into your future projects?
I would like to make another film one day and the piece of advice that would give myself and take is try to do it quicker than ten years.
That’s very good advice indeed. What would you think that Oscar Wilde feels of society today?
It’s a difficult question really because he is so much part of the period in which he lived. I think he’d be amazed by gay marriage and thrilled. I think he would be very good on Twitter.
What do you hope audiences will take away from the film?
I hope that they would be infused by my fascination and affection with Oscar Wilde. I think it’s an important part of our history. I think it’s a great story that I hope people enjoy it.
The Happy Prince – In theatres This Friday October 19th