Jonathan Rhys Meyers Rules Our World
By Shawna Malcom
Cosmopolitan, Cosmo Men Special, November 2007
His confidence, naughty sense of humor, and gorgeous looks make Johnny (he told us to call him that) perfect for the cover of Cosmo Men.
When you meet Jonathan, you’re struck by how familiar he acts…getting in your personal space in a provocative, almost unnerving way-even kissing you when he momentarily steps away, although you’ve never met before and you’re there to do a job. The combo of his flirtatiousness, Irish brogue, pillowy mouth, and transparent blue eyes is as intoxicating as pounding three pints of Guinness back-to-back.
Where were we? Oh, yeah…for his Cosmo interview at a rented house in Beverly Hills, where his photo shoot is taking place, Jonathan looks every inch the stylish star in a black leather Gucci jacket, navy track pants, and broken-in black hoots. But life on the A-list is the last thing this 30-year-old son of a working-class single mom ever expected. He was expelled from school at age 16 and has never set foot in an acting class. Spotted by casting agents while hanging at a pool hall, Jonathan decided to give performing a shot and appeared in his first film, A Man of No Importance, the following year. (Of his acting talent, he’s said, “It’s not brain surgery. You take the character and play it as naturally as you can.”)
That method seems to he working brilliantly. He played a glam rock star in 1998’s Velvet Goldmine and later a dedicated soccer coach in Bend It Like Beckham. Then, in 2005, Jonathan steamed up the screen with Scarlett Johansson in Match Point, and a year later, he earned a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the King of Rock and Roll in the TV miniseries Elvis. Along the way, he’s continued to cement his sex appeal by modeling for Versace and the men’s fragrance Hugo by Hugo Boss.
Recently, Jonathan’s garnered critical acclaim for his role as another king (the young, womanizing Henry VIII) in Showtime’s Emmy-nominated drama The Tudors, and he shows off his romantic side as a charismatic musician in love with Keri Russell’s character in this month’s August Rush.
Listen in as the refreshingly honest, single actor opens up about everything you’re dying to know.
You’ve done nearly 30 projects in the past 10 years. What drives you?
Growing up in poverty does it to you. Growing up without things, it’s like “You can’t turn money down! You can buy stuff with it!”
What’s the hardest thing about being an actor?
Auditioning. When you don’t get a part-if there’s a hell on earth, that’s it for an actor. It’s heartbreaking to have people say, “We don’t want you. It’s not personal, but.. . .” No. It is personal.
How do you feel about being a sex symbol?
I’d rather people think I am sexy than not! Let’s be honest: If you’re in the film industry and you think your physicality is not going to determine some of the parts you play, you’re in the wrong game. This is show business.
Is it hard having your private life exposed?
No. Not that many people today are completely secretive. Look at MySpace. People will tell you absolutely everything about themselves.
A few months ago, you checked into rehab for alcohol abuse. How are you now?
Very well, thank you. Rehab’s always a positive thing [for me]. I just had to upkeep my recovery. I was feeling a lot of pressure, and I knew I had to do the second season [of The Tudors]. So I listened to what they told me and took some time out.
Ever have an on-set hookup?
Yes, but not in 10 years. What if you break up and you still have to shoot scenes together? That’s no bueno. When people fall in love, they fall in love. There’s fuck-all you can do about it. But in general, it’s a bad idea.
So then, what are the pros and cons of dating an actress?
There are no pros! There’s competition, because you’re both actors. And they’re mad [laughs]! I haven’t dated an actress in so long, I couldn’t tell you. In general, they stay away from me.
What helps you get through a breakup?
Time is the only thing that works. You can do things to take your mind off it. You can run out and be with other people. But it’s gonna be with you for a while, so suck it up and sit with it.
How do you feel about one-night stands?
I don’t judge. I’ve had them. Other times, I’ve had the opportunity to have one, and it’s not what I wanted. It depends what phase you are at in your life.
What would convince you to settle down?
The right person. That’s it. The idea of marriage is beautiful. When people work at it, it’s the most extraordinary thing. But it’s tough for one woman or one man to be exclusive. It’s also difficult living with someone because they don’t necessarily think like you do.
Do you want kids?
Maybe one. I love kids. What’s not to like? They do what they do because they want to do it. We do what we do because we feel we should.
What have you learned about relationships?
That there’s two people in ’em. It’s not all about you.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I couldn’t tell you how to use a computer. I’m not a very good swimmer. I play a bit of the flute. And I do impersonations of everyone I’ve worked with.
When do you find you’re the most content?
When I’m asleep. I remember some of my dreams, but they’re NFFP-not fit for print!