People are Talking About: Dark Angel
By Maggie Bullock
Vogue, August 2004
Cult Icon Jonathan Rhys Meyers makes bad guys beguiling.
“Other actors are always asking me how to break into the business. I’ve no idea—I never had to do it’” says Jonathan Rhys Meyers somewhat sheepishly. Not a lament on the lips of most rising stars’ perhaps’ but just the sort of thing you might expect from a 27-year-old Irishman who, after being discovered in a Dublin pool hall at seventeen, has gone on to a series of enviable roles—all without a single acting lesson.
At nineteen, he put his alabaster-smooth’ almost tender beauty and fierce attitude to work as Brian Slade, the omnisexual glam rocker of Todd Hayne’s Velvet Goldmine. Besides garnering him a cult following, Goldmine set Rhys Meyers up for a string of similarly sinister roles in films like Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil and Julie Taymor’s Titus. With the exception of Joe, the dedicated women’s soccer coach he playing in Bend it Like Beckham, Rhys Meyers admits, “There’s just something about me, I guess, some kind of darkness. I end up playing a lot of bastards.”
Next up, two more major-league ne’er-do-wells: in September, the preening George Osborne in Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair and, later this year, Cassander in Oliver Stone’s epic Alexander. But Rhys Meyers is continuing to steer clear of Hollywood’s star system. He’s even banished his cell phone—the social lifeline of the Western world—to the depths of the River Shannon, “If someone wants me enough, they’ll find me,” he says.