By James Fallon
W Magazine, July 2000
“Couldn’t you just die for those lips?” says Toni Collete of her close friend and former flame Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. Though often cast for his good looks, Rhys-Meyers, 22, finally gives proof of his acting mettle as the villainous Steerpike in the BBC’s production of Mervyn Peake’s Gothic trilogy “Gormenghast” (airing on BBC America beginning June 10 and again on PBS in late fall). “He’s a real 21st-century boy,” raves the program’s director, Andy Wilson. “He’s got the febrile sexiness of Peter O’Toole, but he can also switch on this incredible Albert Finney macho power.”
Rhys-Meyers’ strength may be due to his underprivileged upbringing in Cork, Ireland, where he was kicked out of school for ditching classes to play pool. “I’ve always wanted my life to be extreme,” he says. “I want to be really great– or really awful. No in-between.”
Special thanks to Cannape for transcribing this article.