Articles

Jonathan scores again
By Tiffany Dunk
New Weekly, August 5-9, 2002

Never heard of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers? Thanks to Bend it Like Beckham the Irish actor hopes that will change.

He’s played a bisexual glam rocker in Velevt Goldmine, a drug-addled soldier in Ride with the Devil and a warped Shakespearean villain in Titus. And these are some of his less controversial roles.

But having got wierdness down to a fine art, spunky 25-year-old Jonathan Rhys-Meyers couldn’t wait to play an ordinary soccer coach named Joe in Bend it Like Beckham.

“Joe was something I needed to do,” he says of his part in the comedy about a teenage girls of football stardom. “Playing so many intense roles wasn’t making people happy. And I wasn’t being entertained for roles like this one because of my work history.”

The self-confessed chain smoker was whisked off to soccer school where he trained with the female cast members (including Parminder Nagra, Kiera Knightly and Shaznay Lewis) for the indie hit.

“Women are hellish,” he jokes of the experience. “There were 20 girls and I was the one boy. They’ll stand around gossiping about their boyfriends and you basically bear the brunt of all male stupidity.”

Jonathan says he made one unsuccessful attempt at pulling the female cast into line. “I said to the girls before we started shooting, ‘Look, if I scream at you to do something in the film, you have to take me seriously.’ And I invited them to come along and kick me afterwards if I upset them.” And did they? “Hell yeah!”

While he’s naturally hoping for a big blockbuster with a big paycheck to follow Bend it Like Beckham, don’t expect Jonathan to become a red carpet regular.

“A lot of people go out there looking for celebrity,” he says, “but I’d rather be famous for doing good work than for being seen out every night.”

RHYS’S PIECES

Jonathan on:

HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND TONI COLLETTE
“I saw Toni recently. She’s got a beautiful new man and she’s very happy. Life is going very well for her. She’s the most wonderful actress and so deserving of every accolade she gets.”

AN INTERESTING FUTURE PROJECT
“Do you know, I’d love to form a Mexican mariachi band. I’m going to buy one of those Cadillac cars that go up and down and have depictions of the life of Jesus Christ all over them.”

HIS FAVOURITE FEATURE STORY
“The coolest magazine I’ve been in is Hair Monthly. It rocks! I didn’t brush my hair when I woke up one morning and they wrote that I had ‘it teased to perfection’. The things you guys write!”

Special thanks to Tessa for transcribing this article.

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