Rupert Everett has made a living being a suave, debonair, handsome and slick British actor. And oh yeah – he happens to be gay.
Rupert was raised in the British upper class with all its privileges and stigmas. He is a fascinating person but, unfortunately, not a fascinating writer.
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, while intriguing at times, is all over the place and jumps from story to story with no links or logical flow. Rupert drops names when a first name isn’t enough (especially to a younger generation). He uses French phrases with no translations (which is fine if you have studied French for years like I have – but not to people who don’t speak the language). It is listed as an autobiography but reads more like a memoir with its random story lines and stand-alone chapters.
This book has been marketed as somewhat of a “tell-all bitchy celebrity memoir.” It’s far from that, which was the most surprising aspect of the book to me. There are many insights about celebrities he has worked with (Julia Roberts’s being threatened by the young ingénue Cameron Diaz, Sharon Stone’s erratic behavior on set and off, Catherine Deneuve’s natural air and regal behavior, Andy Warhol at Studio 54, Roddy McDowell’s “legendary big cock,” Madonna’s circle of light, etc.) but none of them are bitchy or degrading in any way. While I admit that I was looking forward to hearing a bitchy tell-all of first hand celebrity gossip and Rupert’s sexcapades, I will have to say that the thing I respected the most about the book was that Rupert seems very down-to-earth and humble most of the time. He is the first to criticize his acting and actions throughout his life. There were several tender and touching parts that were unexpected (including the description of spending some time with his elderly father in the Amazon and a frank description of the death of his beloved lab Mo). These were well-written and touching – yet ill placed and random within the book.
Rupert describes his rise and fall from an ALMOST A-list actor after My Best Friend’s Wedding to the B/C-list of today. It is a shocking and insightful description of the brutal world of Hollywood and the fact that once a gay actor is labeled as such, his “leading man” days are over.
If you are a die hard Rupert fan or a die hard celebrity-memoir fan, this is the book for you. If you are expecting a well-written autobiography, I’m afraid this isn’t the book for you. I still like Rupert and have more respect for him as a person for NOT telling all his–and every one else’s–dirty secrets, but I don’t feel this book was the best it could have been.
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins is available online, at local bookstores and at the local library.
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins – The Autobiography
by Rupert Everett
Warner Books, 416 pp, $25.99