Sunday, 4 December 2005

Tête à claques V

I’ve never met my previous Têtes à claques, but I knew Rupert Everett when he was a young boy. These photos were taken in Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1977: Rupert was 18.

He was tall and thin as a beanpole (an asperge in French – we’re a little more refined in our choice of vegetables). He was gangly, not quite coordinated; he could be bitchy and waspish, but also very very cute.

I first saw him in Stratford in 1976; he used to hang around the theatre day and night and , as I was on holiday, I used to hang around the theatre day and night. That year the RSC had decided to transform the theatre into a replica of Shakespeare's Globe and there were seats at the back of the stage. This young man was annoying me a lot by pacing up and down at the back of the seating area; I kept wondering why he was allowed to disturb the paying public in that way. Then, one morning I saw him with Ian McKellen outside my B&B. They looked very ‘friendly’ with each other. That was ten years before Sir Ian came out of the closet; he was a matinee idol rather than a gay icon and female fans used to mob him at the Stage Door (one of them even threw herself into the Avon to attract his attention). Anyway, who was courting whom, I couldn’t possibly say.

The following year I bumped into Rupert again in London: he was working as an usher at the Warehouse (the RSC’s studio theatre) and already charming his way to fame. He recognized me and we started chatting. We met up a couple of weeks later in Stratford: we were both attending the Shakespeare Summer School and we had great fun together. He was always on the lookout for mischief and together we behaved outrageously (one night we were even thrown out of a very respectable Chinese restaurant). He returned to London at the end of the week and we didn’t see each other again for another year.

Then, one afternoon, in Paris, I got a phone call from him, “Please come and bail me out. I’ve crossed the Channel without a passport. I’m at the Hôtel Meurice, on the Rue de Rivoli. I'm hungry. I've got no money. I'm going back tonight. I don't know what's going to happen.” By chance another actor friend was staying with me. He knew Rupert too, by sight. He was extremely amused and agreed to go with me to rescue him. We found him lounging on a sofa in the beautiful lobby of that most luxurious of hotels, writing a letter with a pen and a pad lent to him by one of the commissioners. He stood up languidly to greet us and, on the way out, offered to return the writing implements, but the commissioner told him to keep them with a huge smile – totally under his spell. We took Rupert to Angelina (a very posh tearoom) next door and plied him with tea and cakes. We had a whale of a time. Later, he borrowed money from us (“Rupert, you still owe it!”) to pay for the fare to Gare du Nord, and he left as nonchalantly as he had appeared. No doubt he charmed passport control too, later that evening.

In 1981 I went to see him in Another Country, at the Greenwich Theatre (before the show transferred to the West End). He was the same old Rupert. He entertained me with stories of the other actors in the play (one of whom was Kenneth Branagh). That was the beginning of his rise and rise to stardom.

I’ve seen him a couple of times since then, but not recently and if I had I probably wouldn’t have recognized him. He’s had plastic surgery: a brow and eye lift, and cheek implants, they say. He doesn’t look like himself any longer.

Rupert, I’m slapping you for spoiling your good looks – even more than a few wrinkles would have.


  1. What fun to read this! I have always loved his acting--and, surgery or no, the guy is gorgeous.

  2. Ah, the glittering lure of Hollywood! How it leads the young astray!

  3. wow, he has changed his looks. What a shame

  4. I've always liked his work. Too bad if he's altered his looks.

    A person seldom looks better, IMHO,after plastic surgery. That's why they call it plastic. It looks phoney.

  5. oh gawd! he looks DREADFUL in the 'after' photo

    shame on you, rupe!

    we loved you before!

  6. What terrible fear and insecurity must drive one to undergo the knife! A shame - he was gorgeous before, and I'm sure would have aged beautifully.

    Thanks for the very entertaining account, J!

  7. Wow, he was cute as a lad. As for the final two pictures, isn't it interesting how the tiniest changes can make a huge difference in the gestalt of someone's face? It does look like he has had cheek implants, which I find horrifying. Cheek implants give people that creepy mannequinesque Priscilla Presley look. *shudder*

  8. We do normally recognize faces by the way the features are arranged in relation to each other, their sizes, etc. - there couldn't be a better word than 'gestalt' - and anything that modifies this general impression we have in our mind's eye is bound to be disturbing. It can be done subtly: apparently Sarah Jessica Parker had her nose reshaped and thinned, not shortened because a small nose would have looked out of place in her long face, but just given a slimmer shape. She's done it gradually over several years and, judging by 'before' and 'after' photos, she looks much better for it.

    A smooth 'older' face always looks strange. We all have expectations of what a certain age should look like and we find it difficult to accept discrepancies.

  9. The cheek implants are really visible on Rupert! They make him look a bit girly.

  10. Oh this was just a fantastic read, thank you! I'll have to share with my husband (we're both fans of his, although of the two of us, I'm the only one who was willing to sit through that stupid monkey movie he made.) I'd suspected he'd done some rearranging, but those pictures you contrasted really prove it. And the worst part to me, insofar as what I noticed before I saw the pics you posted, is that it screwed up his eyebrows! They look all squirrelly now, and gah... why, why???

    If he thinks it's his looks alone that make some of us fans, he's sorely mistaken. He has fantastic timing. And a wonderful voice. There's something reminiscent in his style that really reminds me of William Powell, which is the highest sort of compliment I think I could give any actor. Honestly, both his performances in B.Monkey and Ideal Husband were stellar, and neither of those movies would have been at all as good were it not for him. And while the attractive appearance sure didn't hurt, the revision from his original natural appearance might. And the makeup in that second photo! I don't mind men in makeup personally, but the eye makeup placement closes off his eyes and makes him look tired. I will compliment his use of foundation/powder though, as that seems well done enough.

    The real pity of it is that he's the sort of person who looks like the story of his life as expressed through wrinkles would actually IMPROVE his looks - like with Sean Connery. I mean, young Sean was handsome I guess, but I'll take balding older Sean over the young one any day. Admittedly, that might just be me, though.

    What an interesting recollection to share, J, and thank you for such a great post.

    (Weirdly to me, Rupert seems to be channeling Sid Vicious style-wise in those older photos. Uh, but cleaner and presumably scabies-free of course.)

  11. Yeep. Once again I have deposited a virtual novel of a response in your comments. Sorry!

  12. Please don't apologize, K: there is no limit on comments and yours are always entertaining.

    I'm glad you enjoy Rupert's work. He has an upper-class background and those 'Oscar-Wildean' kinds of parts suit him best, I think.

    I wonder if all Hollywood actors get their own bad advisers. The ones that say, "Yes, go on, have a little nip and tuck!" Shame. We will never know what RE might have looked like au naturel.

    When I knew him RE was very 'clean'. LOL!

  13. 1) i am deeply afraid of priscilla presley. i suspect she is animatronic.

    2) sjp looks dreadful on the cover of the current issue of grazia (or whatever the hell it's called)

    3) rupert!! no!!!!

  14. SG, SJP would look even more dreadful if she still had her old nose. (I think she's quite cute usually.)

  15. so do i, but this picture makes her look freaky.

    ooh, the other half is away tonight. i can feel a satc marathon coming on...

  16. LOL!

    Hey, have you seen Kate Winslet on the cover of this month's ELLE? She looks amazing, I think. She was made up by the lovely Mary Greenwell, my favourite make-up artist: she 'did' me once in Selfridges; unfortunately, even after her deft ministrations - "Make it smoky, darling, make it smoky!" - I didn't look as good as the Winslet on that cover. :-(


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