Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, March 3, 2000 Page: 26 of 102
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gay leading man
plays queer dad in
The Next Best Thing
By Daniel A. Kusner
niable talent and charming British manners
have helped win him throngs of admirers. But
his female fans may actually outnumber his
queer devotees. It seems everyone's mother
and sister absolutely adore him.
It's easy to see why. In person, Everett is
easygoing and almost as handsome as he looks
onscreen. And smart. But he doesn't behave
like the sparkling egomaniac dripping with
sarcastic wit whom he plays so convincingly
well. During a recent interview, he sat biting
his thumbnail, showing sweaty armpit stains.
But on him it was sexy.
Although he was only recently accepted
into the hearts of straight American audiences,
he's played a significant part in queer culture
ever since the mid-'80s. His critically praised
role as an indiscreet, upper-class gay pupil in
Another Country instantly made him one of the
hottest of British actors. And along the way,
he's published two books (Hello Darling, Are
You Working? and The Hairdressers of St. Tropez),
recorded two very rare pop albums and
completed nearly 30 feature films, including
The Madness of King George, Midsummer Night's
Dream, Shakespeare in Love and An Ideal
His latest effort is The Next Best Thing, in
which he plays a gay landscape architect who
has a child with his best friend, an unwed
yoga-instructor played by Madonna. The film
is apparently a project that's been in develop-
ment for a while, and Everett did more than
just star in the film.
"About six years ago, I went up for the role
before I was kind of famous, so I didn't get it,"
he says. "And then, after My Best Friend's
Wedding came out, it was brought to me again.
I got very lucky with My Best Friend's Wedding
because audiences in middle America got real-
ly turned on to my character.
"Then when they found out that I was gay,
well, it was just a very successful thing for me.
So I was looking for material that would still
attract mainstream, straight American audi-
ences, which was basically about being funny,
being charming and not being too controver-
Everett says the first draft of Next Best Thing
was about a stereotypical gay interior decora-
tor and a hard, unsympathetic woman who
couldn't get a boyfriend. Everett took the story
to Madonna, and they revised it in an attempt
to make it more realistic. The stars then prer
sented it to director John Schlesinger (A
Cowboy, Sunday Bloody Sunday).
"This is the first film that I have really been
extremely involved in," Everett says. "I must
say, for the year tha't it took us to write the
stuff, it was one of the most nightmarish years
ever. The studio wanted to do the film, but at
the same time they were scared. It was a new
thing for mainstream cinema, putting gay peo-
ple in films. It took a lot of convincing, but I'm
really proud of it now."
Everett and Madonna turned to themselves
and their friendship for their rewrite of the
screenplay. But Everett adds that he's not inter-
ested in being a daddy.
"I don't want to have a family, but I come
from an older generation of homosexual men,"
the star says. "And also, I'm not American, so
the whole 'family thing' isn't for me. I think
one of the great things about being gay is not
having to have a family. I do like kids, but I
couldn't deal with the responsibility of a kid
all the time. Being a movie parent, however, is
kind of ideal."
Not only is Everett a gay actor who can
maintain leading-man status and box office
appeal, but he's achieved his success while
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, March 3, 2000, newspaper, March 3, 2000; Dallas, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth615497/m1/26/: accessed April 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.