By all outward appearances, Jeremy Northam — the dashing Brit who's had reel-life romances with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma), Cate Blanchett (An Ideal Husband) and Uma Thurman (The Golden Bowl) — should have no trouble finding a real-life leading lady. Not so, he says, launching into the kind of singleton's lament you'd expect from a Sex and the City gabfest. Eligible ladies, listen up!

"Every now and again, I think, 'Well, I'll just be happy being the slap-happy bachelor,'" he shares. "But ultimately, I know that I want something a bit more lasting than that."

In the Robert Altman whodunit Gosford Park, Northam plays Ivor Novello, a famous gay actor-composer of the 1930s, who nevertheless made millions of women swoon. Northam groans that he only wishes so many ladies were lining up to court him.

"I've spent many an evening explaining to people that my life is perhaps not what they'd expect it to be," he grins. "People say, 'I know what your life is like. You must be constantly going to parties, having women throw themselves at you left, right and center' — Nope, no and no. I've had a series of odd dates with people... After a while [of that,] you go, 'Oh, crap, what's the point? I'll just become a monk!'"