The presenter was speaking to Rupert about his upcoming portrayal of Oscar Wilde in the biopic ‘The Happy Prince’, which centres around the author’s life in exile after he was released from prison for gross indecency with men.
However, many listeners felt the interview focussed too much on Rupert’s own private life, with the host asking him whether he felt regret for coming out as gay, as well as probing him on other issues relating to modern gay life.
Ironically, John closed the interview with: “Do you think they’ll ever get to the stage where we’ll do an interview like this and it won’t even need be mentioned that you happen to be gay? In other words, it’ll be irrelevant?”
Listeners were left unimpressed, with many pointing out the contrast between John Humphrys’ gay-centric line of questioning compared with his last question, lamenting that out actors’ sexuality is not yet “irrelevant” when they’re being interviewed:
A BBC spokesperson said of the interview: “Since this interview centred around Rupert Everett’s portrayal of, and long-standing interest in, Oscar Wilde, it was not inappropriate to draw parallels between the two men and their experiences of being gay at different points in history.”
Rupert Everett has repeatedly said in the past that he feels that coming out affected his career, though he insisted to John Humphrys that he had no regrets.
His lead role in ‘The Happy Prince’ is the latest in a long line of Wilde-related roles for Rupert, having previously starred in film adaptations of ‘An Ideal Husband’ and ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’. He also starred as Oscar Wilde in the stage play ‘The Judas Kiss’.