SNARK WEEK: Man Ick Monday: Jonathan Rhys Meyers


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Normally on Mondays, we write Man Candy Monday posts sharing the love of our favorite guys in favorite period TV shows and films. However, this is Snark Week, so that means today I give you Man Ick Monday.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers has oozed across our screens in numerous historical costume movies and TV series. Occasionally, he’s well-cast as a sleazeball or a fop, but usually he’s busy ruining perfectly acceptable roles by being a smear of oil. Now, I’m not arguing that he isn’t a talented actor, and he may be completely your cup of tea. But to me, he is the personification of an eel that’s been boiled in oil for 10 days straight, then used to clean a highway rest-stop men’s room.

If you’re with me, then please to enjoy sticking a fork in your own eye out as we “celebrate” his oeuvre. If you’re a fan, then please, by all means, authentically enjoy these images. I won’t stop you.


Samson and Delilah (1996)

Samson and Delilah (1996)

One of JRM’s early roles was a bit part as a young Samson. Loving the Little House on the Prairie braids. It’s a look!

The Governess (1998)

The Governess (1998)

Minnie Driver plays an 1840s governess in pleather, while JRM is the petulant, screw-up son of her employers who tries to woo her.


Sorry, Minnie. Need to borrow a wet wipe?

Ride With the Devil (1999)

Ride with the Devil (1999)

In this Civil War piece, JRM’s character goes from Confederate guerrilla fighter to an outlaw gang leader, and not in a good way.

Ride with the Devil (1999)

Petulant: noun. Childishly sulky or bad-tempered.

The Magnificent Ambersons (2002)

The Magnificent Ambersons (2002)

His character: “spoiled rotten and utterly unlikable rich kid.” Sounds like appropriate casting.

The Lion in Winter (2003)

The Lion in Winter (2003)

Here he looks like Justin Bieber, and not in a good way.

Alexander (2004)


So many mullets, so little time.


I do believe that’s a styled mullet, with the hair twisted around the headband. Lovely.

Vanity Fair (2004)

2004 Vanity Fair

Again well-cast as George Osborne: “selfish, vain, profligate spender, handsome, and self-obsessed.”


He excels in these roles as slightly (or very) foppish assholes. Love the hair, actually. And it’s a great movie.

The Tudors (2007-10)

Ahhh, here’s where it REALLY gets good.


JRM didn’t write the script, but I can still blame him for reducing Henry VIII to one giant shlong.

The Tudors (2007-10)

First, he’s every 16-year-old jock date rapist.

The Tudors (2007-10)

Then he’s slimy, he’s sleazy, and he only cares about himself.

The Tudors (2007-10)

He attempts to be regal, but really, he’s just … ew.

The Tudors (2007-10)

He apparently wears dirty diapers instead of undies. I spent this whole scene being more grossed out by the color of his loincloth than his supposed leg ulcer.

The Tudors (2007-10)

He shows off his plumber’s crack to Anne Boleyn in frustration since she won’t let him finish the deed.

The Tudors (2007-10)

Eating without table manners, dramatically, is his key shtick. Look at that smirk when he opens the pomegranate. “Oh yeah. You want me, don’t you, you naughty little fruit?” he’s thinking. DATE RAPIST.

The Tudors (2007-10)

The best: directly after killing Anne Boleyn, he kills two mating swans, has them cooked, then eats them disgustingly with his hands.

The Tudors (2007-10)


Albert Nobbs (2011)


I haven’t seen this, but this look is great for JRM. People, cast him as a fop, and he’ll do fabulously.


Apparently he plays a gay viscount. I approve!

Dracula (2013-14)

Dear god. WHY?

Dracula (2013-14)

Continuing the date rapist theme he began in The Tudors.

Dracula (2013-14)

How could any of the lay-deeze resist him?


Fans, enjoy. The rest of us, shudder with me.

Coming Up: Roots


He’s playing a slave owner in the remake of the classic series. I can only imagine he’s going to have a Southern accent up to HEAH. If there’s a rape scene that involves him, I am going to be SO unhappy.


Which historical costume movie/TV actors are your nails-on-a-chalkboard?


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46 Responses

  1. readerly

    Look him up as the crazy rapist-mutilator of poor Lavinia in Julie Taymor’s film of Titus Andronicus – an indelible horrorshow.

    If they remade Clockwork Orange, he should play Alex! Come to think of it, he basically DOES play Alex in most roles, eh my droogs.)

  2. Nick Friend

    Putting on my proofreader’s hat here, in re: “Ride With the Devil” caption #2: petulant is an adjective, not a noun. And with those greasy long locks, I’m getting more of a Jason Mewes vibe than the Bieb. :)

    • Kendra

      Gah, on behalf of myself (former copy-editor) and Trystan (current copy-editor, among many other things)!

      • irene

        Update. He was great in “den 12 man” (the 12th man) as an evil ss officer.

  3. Susan Pola

    Sleezy, but you forgot Gormenghast. My least favourite JRM is his Henry VIII. He was too short, not ginger enough hairwise and where was Henry’s charm. Which is strange since I love Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn.

  4. bauhausfrau

    He’s definitely a one note. A slimy, slimy one note. With extra slime.

    My nails on the chalkboard historical actor is Carey Mulligan. If they always cast her as the forlorn puppy drip she always seems to project I wouldn’t mind. But she keeps getting these “strong woman” roles. No, just no.

  5. Shirley

    Yay for the return of Snark Week!

    I’ve never actually watched JRM in anything, but I’ve seen lists of hot men with him on it and was always so confused. Were they looking at the same pictures I was?

    Ordinarily I’m sympathetic to people with very oily/greasy hair. I battle that myself, so I know what it’s like to try not to look homeless and fail miserably on a regular basis. (For that reason, I even felt the need to defend Snape’s hair when Ron and Harry insulted that in the books.) But Meyer doesn’t even seem to be trying, so he doesn’t get a pass from me.

    But that being said, thank you, thank you, thank you for the first photo. That made me laugh way too hard at work. :)

    • Shirley

      Sorry–I meant the second photo with the braids. Still snickering about it.

  6. K.

    Worst of the worst? Ryan Philippe in Gosford Park. He may have ruined other costume flicks too, for all I know.

      • Emily Barry

        He played an American actor working “undercover” to improve his accent and “study,” so yes to both questions! :-P. Though in his defense, I think he was SUPPOSED to have a terrible accent…

  7. Trystan L. Bass

    “Here he looks like Justin Bieber, and not in a good way.”

    Wait, there’s a good way to look like Justin Bieber???

    Also, it pisses me off SO MUCH that he was Dracula. How dare this slimeball defile my vampire fandom. Not cool.

  8. Julia

    Part of me thinks he’s really handsome but most of me can’t understand the roles he chooses. Gormanghast is my favorite role of his and again he an evil, sleazy, egomaniac.

  9. Holly

    About ten years ago, there was talk of casting him as Schmendrick the Magician in a live version of The Last Unicorn. I haven’t been able to see him as anything else since, though I admit I haven’t seen any of the above shows; August Rush is the only flick I’ve seen him in.

      • Holly

        I guess I considered him doofy rather than slimy; though the gallery above certainly supports your objection

  10. Clara

    Oh gods.
    Dracula had potential (and could have been good with some changes in the script and a costume designer who knew their shit) But why did they have to cast him oh gods? why? *shakes fist*

    (Lemme guess he was one of the producers, wasn’t he?)

  11. Amanda

    You know how, when you click the link to a page on your FB feed, it gives you suggestions to other related pages? After I read this, I am unfortunately 99% sure that one of the random links Facebook suggested for me was to a nude picture of JRM…at least, from what I could tell from the thumbnail. JESUS, MY EYES! *shudder*

    So I have to thank you for an inadvertently horrifying end to my day! :D

  12. Charity

    I so approve of this post.

    JRM keeps turning up in costume dramas and I screech NOOOOO! every time it happens. I can’t even… who thought casting him in “The Tudors” was a good idea?! I laugh insanely every time I watch the first couple of episodes, and they parade the Duke of Buckingham around — a burly redheaded actor who would have been perfect for Henry.

    Oh, well. Someday I’ll get over it.

      • Charity

        Totally! He’s more a believable age for the pairing with Katharine of Aragon too (she was seven years older than Henry, NOT FIFTEEN!!).

  13. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    I know that the symbolism in the over the top consuming of the pomagrante, but still yuck! Henry was a cultured king known for his manners. JRM was the absolute worst casting choice.

  14. Adina

    You missed one, he was in “Michael Collins” for about 10 minutes near the end.

  15. rikibeth

    I know that “movies set within the bloggers’ lifetimes don’t count as historical,” but I have a soft spot for him in Velvet Goldmine.

    I used to have quite the crush on his looks when he was still a skinny little twink. I mean, the lips! The cheekbones! And he’s good at playing the petulant brats and the fops.

    I read in interviews that he deliberately bulked up and cut his hair in order to get more traditionally masculine roles, because he was tired of being cast as androgynous and/or gay…and unfortunately he still kept playing jerks, and they weren’t PRETTY jerks anymore, and I quit enjoying them so much. Sad.

    • Kim Moon

      Totally agree, he was a perfect Bowie surrogate in Velvet Goldmine. And Ewan MacGregor in the film, woof.

  16. ladylavinia1932

    JRM didn’t write the script, but I can still blame him for reducing Henry VIII to one giant shlong.

    Henry VIII was already a giant schlong, as far as I’m concerned.

  17. Kyria Van Gasse

    I only discovered the site now and have been devouring the snark week posts. When I saw this article I felt so sad it was posted in 2016, because with JRM joining Vikings y’all would have a fucking field day :’)

  18. Roxana.

    It’s not easy to make Henry VIII look worse than he really was. JRM manages it.