Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Glamour, May 2002
In World Cup year, the glass-shatteringly beautiful Jonathan Rhys Meyers, famed for his disruptive, sexually ambiguous roles, has decided to butch it up. By playing footie with a bunch of girls. Cast in the role of Joe, the football coach of an amateur women’s football team in Brit film Bend It Like Beckham, his biggest challenge wasn’t resisting the temptation to tackle his team-mates, but “to be more manly. I’m only 24, I look pretty young and as I’m the same age as some of the girls in the team it was difficult for them to look up to me. So I tried to be a respectful friend to them.” Surely the girls, who all play for bona fide teams (bar the two leads Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley and surprise guest Shaznay Lewis) fell over themselves to be his new best mate? Not quite – he insists he never gets to know anyone through work, pondering, “Maybe I’m not that liked.” Perhaps he’s fishing for compliments because this is very hard to believe as he chats away charmingly.
Discovered in a pool hall at 17, the Cork-born boy has appeared in 20 films and TV shows (remember the BBC’s Gormenghast) and auditioned for the part of Anakin Skywalker for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, yet he’s never been to acting school. He thinks his best training was being a troublemaker as a kid. “People thought I could be an actor because I’d been doing it for a while trying to get myself out of situations,” he says. Now working away from his Dublin-based girlfriend Alex ‘The Beach’ Garland’s The Tesseract, his next stop is LA, where he’s heard Ridley Scott is making Alexander the Great. Is that where his mountains of fan mail will be redirected, then? “I get some but it’s all quite sweet and innocent,” he begins, sighing. “I’ve never received a pair of knickers…” Would he like to? He laughs: “Depends who’s wearing them.”
Special thanks to Trispina for sending this article.