Jonathan rides a radio wave
By Charlotte Sheridan
Irish Examiner, October 4, 2002
Jonathan Rhys Meyers has the world at his feet — he’s only 25 and already has 19 films behind him. So you might be surprised to hear that the globe-trotting actor, made a humble phone call to an RTE producer, expressing his desire to read the short stories of Saki on the radio programme, the Book on One.
Producer Seamus Hosey was only too glad to accommodate the Cork-born actor and his dulcet tones can be heard tonight at 9:45pm.
Saki is Rhys Meyers’ favourite writer. “He was a subversive who took the stuffy Edwardian English drawing room and turned it into a circus tent,” he said, adding that he would love to play Saki in a film of his life. He was intrigued to discover from Hosey that Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), who died in the trenches of World War I, had a brother Charles who was governor of Mountjoy Prison in 1916.
Rhys Meyers was first spotted in a pool hall in Cork by Hubbard Casting. He went on to act in Neil Jordan’s film, The Man who Shot Michael Collins. He was also the decadent glam rock star of Velvet Goldmine, and has worked with Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange among others.
Saki’s short stories are not unlike the writing of PJ Wodehouse, says Hosey, who added that Rhys Meyers “caught the wicked humour and sardonic wit of the writer. Radio is a new medium for Jonathan. He wonders if any of his mates in Buttevant will recognise his voice on the Book on One. Cork is very much his stomping ground despite working with the likes of Charlotte Rampling and Tom Cruise.”
“If you are an actor who hangs around only with actors, that’s all you know and how can you play a farm worker, a carpenter or an engineer,” say Rhys Meyers, exhibiting a fine sense of having his feet solidly on the ground. However, sometimes he worries about the super-brat, mad, bad and dangerous to know image of him the media has created.
His base is in his native Buttevant and he was educated by the Christian Brothers at the North Monastery in Cork city.
“The Brothers taught me the O’Riada Mass which I didn’t always appreciate back then. But I still know his setting of the Our Father.”
Future projects include filming The Last of the Unicorns with Christopher Lee and Mia Farrow and next year, he will be in the West End production of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever.
Does he fear burnout by the age of 30? “No, I’d rather have 10 minutes of an extraordinary life than 100 years of a happy, boring one,” he says.
Special thanks to Kristin for transcribing this article.