The English actor dishes on fame, lack of fame and his peripatetic quest for a film project that isn’t a complete disaster.
Some people invite celebrity, some have it thrust upon them, and some glimpse it occasionally at the end of a long tunnel from which they never seem to emerge. As described in his acidic autobiography, Everett falls squarely within that last category. Raised on the lower end of the upper class in a British Catholic family, the tears-prone, Julie Andrew-worshipping lad attended a series of increasingly mediocre private schools before giving himself over completely to life as a vagabond, semi-artistic bohemian in 1970s London. It sounds like a grand time: Everett working odd jobs in theaters (allowing him the opportunity to stalk Ian McKellen), living as a “plotting, maniacal queen” and maximizing his family connections to avoid the drudgery of day labor until he finally got his break playing a lead stage role in Julian Mitchell’s Another Country. Alas, the disastrous parts that followed were legion; many of his films were used for critics’ target practice or simply never released. Everett’s accounts of the latter are the most comically painful, especially the year he spent in Russia playing a Cossack in the epic Quiet Flows the Don, which ended up unseen in a Naples bank vault. Even his star turn in My Best Friend’s Wedding, notable for allowing him to finally be open about his homosexuality, resulted in the reviled Next Best Thing starring his friend Madonna (a few tasty comments about whom have already stoked interest in his book) and in another period of gypsy wandering. Like any show-biz autobiography, this one has its pompous moments, but for the most part Everett comes off as sincere when recalling glittery stories of Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Richardson and Gore Vidal. He turns some nice phrases and proves willing to look unflinchingly at his own self-involved behavior.
The funny, unromantic side of an actor’s life: eternally unfulfilled, vacillating between giggly highs and malicious lows.