Upcoming Movies: Rupert Everett’s Oscar Wilde Biopic


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.

The Happy Prince (2017)

Rupert Everett, Emily Watson, & Colin Firth.

The Happy Prince (2017)

Cast & crew of The Happy Prince.

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.

The Happy Prince (2017)

Colin Morgan & Rupert Everett in The Happy Prince.

Are you looking forward to The Happy Prince?


About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

19 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    Definitely. Oscar Wilde is one of my favourite playwrights and poets. His abandonment by society, who had adored him, when the Lord Alfred scandal hit was not only hypocritical but an abomination.

      • Susan Pola Staples

        Same here. The reading he did was very moving. The project is one deer to his heart.
        The cast is first rate. Costumes look ‘right’ both the men’s and women’s. BTW did you know Lord Alfred’s father abused his wife?

  2. MoHub

    What a lovely, moving reading of that great poem. I do think I would like to see The Happy Prince.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      While the end of Wilde’s life was tragic, he still managed to make art out of it, & it’ll be interesting to see how Everett does that justice.

  3. Saraquill

    I’m now remembering years ago, when an online acquaintance used Oscar Wilde to justify bizarre troll logic. It went: “Oscar Wilde was arrested for homosexuality in 18XX. This means being gay in Victorian times, hence no gay people before 18XX.”

    I still don’t know what so say in the face of such non logic.

  4. Susan Pola Staples

    The title, as you know, taken from one of Wilde’s poems. It tells of a jewelled encrusted statue of a prince who went on caring for his unfortunate subjects after death. Won’t say more but it’s a moving and thoughtful work.

    • saffireblu

      I watched an animated version of ‘The Happy Prince’ tale- & {spoilers} it was heartbreaking: the prince who was so beloved by his subjects- they created a gold-plated statue of him, with jeweled eyes & sword-pommel- however, in death he sees being loved wasn’t enough; he convinces a migratory bird to peel away the gold leaf, to help the desperately needy folk he never saw/ knew about while he was alive- after all the gold’s gone, he gets the bird to take out the jewels (the bird’s reaction to taking his ‘eyes’ was tear-inducing!).
      One of the prince’s beneficiaries is a poor seamstress, who works her fingers to the bone to make stunningly beautiful gowns for the princes’ noble subjects- the bird flies past a party in which one of the women is complaining that their servants, including, presumably- the same grisette whose work she shows off without thinking of the hours of work that go into her gowns- are ‘so lazy & unreliable’.
      After the princes’ eyes are gone, the bird determines to stay with him, despite the fact that he should have flown south- he does a ‘Little Match Girl’ & dies of the cold- & at some point, people notice how ugly the statue looks stripped of ornamentation, so they melt it down- but I believe it has a ‘Tin Soldier’ ending, in that his ‘heart’ doesn’t melt with the rest… IDK it’s been a long while, & it was on VHS that I saw it.

  5. Kathleen Norvell

    I look forward to seeing this. I loved Stephen Fry’s film and I hope this one will add to the Wilde canon. I saw Vincent Price portray Wilde in a one-man show and it was glorious. I’ve always been a Wilde fan.

    • MoHub

      Robert Morley did a terrific Oscar Wilde film in 1960 after having played Wilde on stage for decades. The film was certainly ahead of its time. Furthermore, since Morley was known for primarily comic work, he surprised a lot of people with his serious dramatic abilities.

  6. Charity

    I suppose it’s only fitting for the man who played “Not!Earnest” AND Lord Goring to go on and play the writer of the plays himself. I’ll be interested to see this, when/if it comes to my area (I’m suspecting a ‘limited release,’ like most non-mainstream costume dramas. Pooh.)

  7. heatherbelles

    I’m looking forward to it. I was a fan of the Wilde film of the earlier period. (Jude Law as Bosie was excellent, if appropriately obnoxious).

    The video of the reading in Reading Gaol is very good.

    He’s actually standing in front of the door from the cell that Oscar occupied. It’s now part of the collections at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham, but was obviously leant back to the people organising the event (which was part of a larger installation, I think from what I came across).

    I was lucky enough to be volunteering @ the museum when it came into the collection nearly 10 years ago. It was known as the NCCL then, and took on the Prison Service Museum collection. Lots of very interesting objects came but the door was my favourite – it looks so anonymous, but what it symbolises is much more….

  8. Roxana.

    Wilde was the victim of a terrible injustice but he was no saint. And it’s totally pitiful that he threw his life away over a pretty boy as worthless as Lord Alfred.