Friday, April 13, 2007

RED CARPETS AND OTHER BANANA SKINS: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RUPERT EVERETT

Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins: The Autobiography of Rupert Everett "Caution" is the best word used when approaching an autobiography about an actor who’s still living, especially when that autobiography is written by the actor himself. Pretentiousness and self-importance are often affiliated with those who believe their acting gives them license to note how they "have affected the world around them."

I "cautiously" cracked open this book and began reading, wondering if I might throw it aside in disgust. But I didn’t. Mr. Everett doesn’t fall into the pretentious or self-important pit, but instead notes how the world manipulated him and how he came out the other end.

Starting with his days at a religious school, Rupert quickly learns that religion isn’t for him. He finds the school overly-strict because "like bowel movements, punishment was always dictated at the appropriate time" (that’s not the exact quote but the meaning is there).

Being gay was also an issue as he grows into manhood ("queenhood?") and then eventually learns the terribleness of the impending AIDS epidemic. Friends fall to the disease and Rupert wonders if he’ll be the next one caught in its death-trap.

Mr. Everett also doesn’t spout off all of the fantastic movies he’s been in and instead gets us into the dirt on those films that were less than stellar. Falling into and out of the theater, Rupert Everett stumbles and swaggers through films, plays, and voice overs (he was the voice of Prince Charming in Shrek 2). He sugarcoats nothing, including his elicit drug use, alcohol abuse, and his interactions with stars great and small (from Elizabeth Taylor to director Marek Kanievska).

There is a bit of name-dropping toward the middle and end of the book, as well as some scattered thoughts about travels hither and thither, but the strong writing and its excellent insiders view make this autobiography a surprising winner.

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