'It's easy to accept homosexuality from the safe heterosexual divide, but bisexuality implicates everybody.’
All the young dudes: (clockwise from left) Christian Bale (second left) meets Placebo’s Brian Molke (second right), Jonathan Rhys Meyers goes Ziggy, Ewan McGregor goes Iggy; Toni Collette and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in shades
myopie \‘lCW of all of us. liyyan ineluded.‘ llaynes admits. 'It never oeeured to us the degree to which he would resemhle Kurt
I ('ohain. It just so happens that liyyan's physical qualities look more like Kurt (‘ohain than Lou Reed or Iggy Pop. ;\nd. ol' course. (‘ohain dyed his hair hlond to look like Iggy. I think it helps hlur the single reading of ('ui‘t Wilde as Iggy Pop. It‘s tnore til a composite of rel’erenees in that way.
Haynes sweeps the last mouthlul ol scone till his plate. traces ol‘ party nail Varnish still on his lingers. A shadow of grunge might appear in his movie. htit he'll forever he glam.
Velvet Goldmine opens on Fri 23 Oct and will be reviewed next issue.
You might not know the nameyet, but JONATHAN RHYS MEYERS is one of the most intriguing, unexpected talents to ' hit the big screen in ages. Words: Alan Morrison
In the film, he's an enigma, a rock superstar who’s seen from every perspective except his own. In person, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a human time-bomb. A seemingly uncontrollable energy threatens to explode from his slight frame as his mind races along spontaneous lines of thought. With his gentle Irish accent and oddly-fitting thrift-shop clothes, the star of Velvet Goldmine falls into no easily definable category.
’I look out of the window and everyone is wearing a suit of some type, something they see in a store and buy,’ he says. ’I have huge problems with that. I couldn't go in and buy anything that had any sort of tag on it because it annoys me. Because I want to be different in some way.’
For all the words that spill out of his mouth, Rhys Meyers is as much of a cypher as Brian Slade, the Bowie-esque character he plays in Todd Haynes’ glam-rock odyssey. An exact biography proves impossible to locate, but received opinion is that he’s 21 years old and was born in Cork. He’ll soon be seen in the cinema in The Governess and the long—awaited 8. Monkey; and he’s currently's off in Rome filming a surreal modern-day Titus Andronicus with Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange.
’Poverty drew me to acting,’ he says of his early days. ’I was kicked out of school and was just playing pool in a pool hall, and these people came in and said, "Would you like to do an audition?". The film was The War Of The Buttons, but they finally thought I seemed too old. I was fifteen, the other boys were between twelve and fifteen; but I was a few years older in the head. I didn't have the easiest upbringing — but who has had an easy childhood? Yeah, I had a particularly shitty one, so that’s why I didn’t get that part. But it gave me the opportunity to do this because I had no education. I had no future and no money, so I had to create one.’
Reinventing yourself — or creating a near persona — is also at the centre of Velvet Goldmine and the glam-rock ethos. So although he’s not really into the music — he preferes Elliott Smith and Nick Drake — Rhys Meyers felt close enough to his character to avoid doing acres of research.
’It was very scary for me because Brian was so complicated — as complicated as I am,’ he explains. ’I don’t think an actor ever actually acquires a role from any external property; it’s about bringing things that you have in yourself to the surface. A lot of Brian is a lot of me, good and bad. And that was very scary, because I could have been completely fucking wooden and the film would have been ruined.’
But, of course, he wasn't and it isn’t. His instinctive approach works as effectively on screen as his stream—of-consciousness interview technique in real life. At one point, he insists the world is about to enter ’a golden age of thinking’ because inner contemplation will be a key to the new millennium. ’A cow can think on a herd basis because that’s the way that he or she is naturally. We're individuals: humans are individual animals.’
Elsewhere, he'll berate the 905 for its pop songs — ’it’s been very singalong pub music; Oasis didn't touch my soul with anything they did’ — and praise the 70s for its liberalism — ’sex was free, drugs were going on for the first time, individualism was happening, free thought was happening. People had a future then that we don’t have now’.
It's all very far away from typical promotional stuff, but it’s his very unpredictability that will make Jonathan Rhys Meyers one to watch. 'I think I'd probably be better in silent films,’ he reckons. ’Every time | open my mouth the shit hits the fan.’ Yes, but life wouldn’t be nearly so interesting then.
'Sex was free, drugs Were going on for the first time. People had a future then thatwe don't have now'.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
8 22 ()(t ‘908 THE LIST?