One of the few LGBTQ people who has had a few movies made about him is Oscar Wilde — in addition to having his own plays made into many film and TV costume dramas. I consider Stephen Fry‘s Wilde (1997) a darn near perfect biopic, but that doesn’t mean I begrudge Rupert Everett his shot. As Everett told the Hollywood Reporter:
“Wilde is a kind of Christ figure in a way for every LGBT person now on their journey. That journey started with Wilde. Homosexuality did not really exist as a debated notion until the Oscar Wilde scandal and with Oscar’s death in 1900 — at the very beginning of the new century, all of the 20th century debates were launched: modernism, feminism, communism.”
Rupert Everett has portrayed Oscar Wilde on stage in the The Judas Tree, and now he’s written a film titled The Happy Prince, which he’s directing and starring in. Filming took place last fall, and it’s now in post-production, although no premiere date has been announced. Colin Firth costars as Reggie Turner, the Wilde’s only friend who remained loyal until the end of his life. Emily Watson plays Wilde’s wife Constance, and Colin Morgan plays his lover Alfred Bosie Douglas.
As with Stephen Fry and the earlier movie, this is a personal project for Everett, who explained that his film addresses the tragic end of Oscar Wilde’s life, which wasn’t covered in-depth on film before. Everett said:
“As a gay person, it is a terribly important story to me personally because Oscar really was crucified by the society that had at first adored him — he is a kind of patron saint to me. I’d love to communicate that notion to everyone.”
Only a few photos of this movie have made their way to the internet, which are included here. For an idea of the film’s tone, you might listen to Everett recite Oscar Wilde’s final work, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” in the chapel of the jail itself where Wilde was imprisoned for his so-called “crime” of homosexuality.
Are you looking forward to The Happy Prince?