Before signing on to Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan debated whether he cared to wear James Bond's tux for a fourth time. Names of potential Bonds were furiously bandied about, with many pegging Brit actor Rupert Everett as the next 007. However, MGM and Day director Lee Tamahori reportedly shied away from casting an openly homosexual man in the role. Did they fear moviegoers — who best know Everett as Julia's charming gay pal in My Best Friend's Wedding — would refuse to accept him as Ian Fleming's famously womanizing superspy?
"[Tamahori] could have quite easily cast me if he wanted to," huffs Everett. "He had carte blanche over casting that character."
While the 43-year-old was bummed about being nixed because of his sexual orientation, he still has no regrets about coming out, or doing movies like Wedding. "If it hadn't been for My Best Friends Wedding to start with, I wouldn't have gotten any of the other roles that I'd gotten after [it]," he says. "[Typecasting] is frustrating if you want to let it be frustrating. That's how it is, and I think there are two ways that you could look at it: You can look at yourself as a victim or you can look at every potential situation in your life as a challenge for you to turn around."
Apart from the elusive Bond, Everett has landed roles that don't involve playing gay. Earlier this year, he was Reese Witherspoon's love interest in The Importance of Being Earnest. Next up, he voices a villain in Nickelodeon's animated flick, The Wild Thornberrys (opening Dec. 20). Like many thesps who do voiceover work, he was challenged by having to act alone in a recording studio.
"It's very virtual," he says. "You never meet anyone else involved in the film. You never see an image [of your character]. You read a script, and then you perform your part. You don't really know what it is you're doing until about two years in, and then you see the image and the whole thing married together.
"I guess it's what it feels like being a sperm charging towards and egg," Everett elaborates, in his typically colorful style. "You don't really know what it is you're doing. You're just doing it, and then the thing happens!"