The Pension is Safe
By Ingo Mocek
Neon, February 2007
Mr Rhys Meyers, after your advertising contract with Versace you signed with Boss. Soon you will be the new face for “Hugo”. Aren’t you an actor?
Aren’t you afraid to be noticed more for your work as a model than for your movies “Match Point” and “Velvet Goldmine”?
I have lots of fears. My mother used to say: “Luck and bad luck are two dogs that are constantly following each other”.
And what does that mean?
When you see the first one, the second one isn’t far. A good advertising contract gets money flowing in, the luck dog wags the tail – woof! And there is the second dog that says: “Be careful, soon your movies will be gone!” But that’s not true. I’m shooting “Tudors” right now, “August Rush” will soon come to the cinemas. You don’t have to worry about me at the moment. Thanks a lot.
And what are you scared of?
I’m not the most famous actor in the world. I will never be one of the ten best paid ones. But I was in 33 movies within the past 12 years and I could live on these pretty well. After every movie there comes the fear that there won’t be anything coming up. That it’s over. And what then? I only learned acting and even that was self-taught. So what about my pension?
Does this mean you take offers because you are afraid nothing will follow? Sounds like you were a soccer player.
Make hay while the sun shines.
You made a films with Tom Cruise and Woody Allen past years. Will it all be over soon?
Like I said, it’s going pretty well at the moment but I haven’t taken any precautions.
I’m talking about the attitude. Today I’m not that often feeling like a impostor anymore. Five years ago I was often scared someone on set could catch me making a mistake and suddenly everybody will see: “Hey, he can’t do this!” I still have this feeling when writing autographs. I’m often thinking: “Are they kidding me? Are they going to throw away the card behind my back?” But that’s the way it is. One day you have a hell lot of publicity, the next day another sod is chased through the village. The career of Tom Cruise taught me that, I learned a lot from him.
That you have to take care of your image besides acting and personal life. I’m sure Cruise is taking care of that very much.
But his career has slowed down at the moment because the whole world thinks he’s crazy. Is he different in reality?
How should I know?
You worked with him.
While shooting “Mission Impossible III” I was on set with him for two months — we haven’t talked more than 10 minutes.
Your experience, your name and your looks are providing a certain security on which you could actually count on.
That’s like when someone who’s working in a bank is counting on never being fired. He has the right to think he’s safe. He’s working in a bank.
And poof! The job is gone. You see: you can’t rely on anything. What do you mean anyway: “your looks?”
I have no idea why some people – including men – would think I’m goodlooking. For me, Jude Law is a pretty guy. I am not. But I know that in the movie business everything is about sexyness. That’s why I’m doing my best as soon as the camera is running.
What would you do now if you weren’t an actor?
I would be a plumber in Cork, I would still try to get an advertising contract for soup…I don’t know. I’m not from a rich family. My mother was a single mom, we were poor. My childhood was difficult but whose childhood isn’t?
You were kicked out of school.
I had lots of time to play billiards. And that’s where I was discovered when I was 15. I was only interested in acting because of the money at that time.
Suddenly there were legal ways not to starve. You have no idea what it’s like for a kid to be hunger and to have a mother who is an alcoholic.
Tell me about it.
What I took from this time: povery can be as painful as sadness and joy. If you knew that you wouldn’t think my work as a model is problematic. Also, the company that produces the perfume says: “Hello dear customer, this is just a fragrance! You have to manage the hard part yourself! You have to get rid of your fears and be yourself!” In that case there also comes a motto that suits me.
Motto or phrasemongering?
It’s easier to get rid of your fears when you are an actor and don’t have a boss that tortures you or when you don’t have to go to that university you actually hate.
No, that’s not it. I have as many fears as anybody else. I just don’t let fear tell me what to do. After 12 years in the movie industry I don’t let my fears lead me. But they are there like they are for everybody else. Like when your standing at an airport and you feel people around you breathing and there is this feeling that any moment a bomb could blow up.
Is this paranoia or do you feel this is a real threat?
I don’t know. What I know is tension and stress are coming from our psyche. Everybody has certain needs and desires. As a young man you’re asking yourself: “who am I going to marry? What and how much am I going to earn? Am I always saying the right thing?” That’s just human. Everyone wants to be liked.
And what’s wrong with that?
Who lives his live lead by the fear what others might think of him can give up right away. No one’s opinion should be worth more than your own. Only like that you can be truly happy. This is the only way I know to seduce a woman: by letting her think you don’t care about her and only you are the one who is important. You have to act like you don’t care if she goes home with you or not.
It’s been said that you had affairs with different American actresses and yet you are with the student Reena Hammer. Don’t you like stars?
I can only have one diva next to me. And that is myself. Also, actresses look much better in films than they do in reality. When I saw Angelina Jolie for the first time I was really disappointed. In her movies she’s like airbrushed. My girl is intelligent and beautiful. She’s half Indian, half Polish. Why should I choose a plastic beauty from LA, an ugly city where the people are worn out, instead of her? I don’t watch pornos in which the actors leave on their clothes either.
You just gave the readers a good hint how to seduce a woman. Any tips what makes a good actor?
Work hard, take care of your looks, because this is part of your job. Especially when you’re young it’s only the looks that will get you a role. Everybody who says something different is crazy. There are reasons why Brad Pitt is in the films he is in. If Brad Pitt didn’t look like Brad Pitt we wouldn’t have heard of him.
And what do you suggest for people who don’t look like Brad Pitt?
First of all I don’t suggest anything. I say: “Congrats!” But really: the biggest saboteur of your own luck is yourself. The fear that others won’t like you. Work hard, love yourself, play with the beautiful things around you and you will be happy.
Special thanks to Kat for translating and transcribing this article.