April 08, 2009
Jeremy Irons Revisits Brideshead
The original 1981 BBC miniseries Brideshead Revisited returns to television on here! TV, and Jeremy Irons — taking a break from starring on Broadway in Impressionism — takes a moment to revisit Brideshead. When Brideshead Revisited first aired on the BBC in 1981, it was truly a pioneering moment in film. Gay cinema had yet to be fully realized as a genre, the AIDS epidemic hadn’t yet ravaged the gay community, and Jeremy Irons wasn’t yet a household name. Brideshead instantly became a classic, and though the relationship between Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte didn’t dissolve into an explicit, sexual tryst, audiences read between the lines — and got a good deal more than cinema had offered up in the past. Brideshead returns to television this month on here! TV, and Irons — now not only a household name but an Academy Award– and Tony Award–winning actor — took some time out of his busy schedule starring opposite Joan Allen on Broadway in Impressionism to revisit Brideshead with Advocate.com.
Advocate.com: When Brideshead Revisited first aired, did you have any idea the impact the film would have on its gay audience?
Jeremy Irons: It was not something I especially considered. I hoped it would be enjoyed by everyone. I was most concerned to capture the relationship with Sebastian accurately, believing that [Evelyn] Waugh wrote it to be a close platonic relationship of the type not easily understood by audiences increasingly exposed to relationships that are either gay or straight. It was a pioneering bit of filmmaking at the time. Was there any backlash? No, there was no backlash at all. We were fortunate that it was, it seems, almost universally admired as a series that captured a particular time in English life.
Have you revisited Brideshead since making the film? Brideshead was filmed at Castle Howard in Yorkshire. The house belongs to friends of mine, so from time to time I’m invited back. For some of the time we filmed there I stayed at the house. I do remember one night when I returned late from a night out, and I had been told the alarms had been left off and was asked to turn them on before I went to bed. However, someone must have turned them on before my return, for as I opened the front door all hell broke loose with sirens, bells, and flashing lights. In my slightly inebriated state I could not work out what to do, so as the household began to appear down the stairs I slunk off to my bed. As I dropped off into sleep I heard the police cars and fire engines approaching down the drive, answering the false alarm. There were some long faces at breakfast the next morning!
You’ve never been one to shy away from controversial subject matter — Damage and M. Butterfly come to mind. Why do you think audiences so often equate controversy with sexuality? Controversy is often caused by sexuality, since sex remains still somewhat of a forbidden fruit for many audiences. It is, after all, something most of us keep quite private, and probably rightly so. However, I see no reason to shy away from any subject that film storytelling should discuss. Lolita probably caused the most controversy, but since it is a classic work, and beautifully made, I have no regrets.
You’re back on Broadway, working with Joan Allen in a play about art — and you just wrapped a film with her about the life of Georgia O’Keeffe. Have you two bonded over art, or is it just coincidence? It is pure coincidence that both the O’Keefe film and Impressionism are set around the art world, as it is that in both I play opposite Joan Allen. A happy coincidence since she happens to be one of America’s most interesting actors, and a wonderful person to boot.
What’s next for you? When the run of Impressionism ends I hope to go back to film for the rest of the year. I have a few projects lining up, though with the current economy, which affects film financing as much as anything, I shall be interested to see what makes it through.
Jeremy Irons and Cynthia Nixon Co-Hosted Drama League Awards
Tony Award winners Jeremy Irons, recently on Broadway in Impressionism, and Cynthia Nixon, currently Off-Broadway in Distracted, will co-hosted the 75th Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony and Luncheon.
The annual ceremony was held May 15 at noon at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.
The Drama League Awards, according to press notes, pay “tribute to the season’s best performers by including the nominees of The Distinguished Performance Award on a dais. The 75th Annual Drama League Awards dais will feature approximately 60-70 stars from the 2008-09 Broadway and Off-Broadway season.”
The Drama League also presents four other annual awards: Distinguished Production of a Play, Distinguished Production of a Musical, Distinguished Revival of a Play and Distinguished Revival of a Musical.
Cynthia Nixon won her Tony Award for her performance in Rabbit Hole. Jeremy Irons won his Tony Award for his work in The Real Thing; Nixon played his daughter in that 1984 production.
Founded in 1916, the Drama League is an association of theatre professionals and patrons dedicated to “encouraging the finest in professional theatre and has since then developed into the theatre’s premiere service organization.”
From Women’s Wear Daily:
Impressionism to Close on Broadway May 10
The new Michael Jacobs play Impressionism — starring Tony winners Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons — will play its final performance at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre May 10.
When it closes, the production will have played 23 previews and 56 regular performances.
[On The View’s official website, they put “Jeffery” instead of “Jeremy”, so I’ve made the corrections.]
Wednesday, Apr. 22
Today, the ladies celebrated Sherri’s birthday! It all kicked off with a great giveaway of tickets to a screening of Earth. FYI: For every ticket purchased during opening week, Disneynature will plant a tree in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest — which is considered the most endangered rain forest in the world.
The first guest was Jeremy Irons, an actor who’s captivated audiences on the big screen — and now on stage in Impressionism. After Jeremy told audiences about what you can expect to see in the play, we watched a clip of The Lion King — for which both Jeremy and our Whoopi provided voices. Jeremy has won an Academy Award, a Tony award, a Screen Actors Guild award, two Emmy awards, and two Golden Globes for his work! You can see Jeremy in Impressionism at the Schoenfeld Theater in New York City. Everyone went home with a pair of tickets for the show …
Since it was Sherri’s birthday, The View challenged the award-winning cake artists from Food Challenge Network Challenge: Last Cake Standing to make their best creations in her honor! The host of Last Cake Standing, Keegan Gerhard, was here to introduce us to the contestants — and to help chose the winner. All three contestants did a wonderful job, and then Sherri chose her favorite. Be sure to watch Last Cake Standing this Sunday night to see the crowning of the winner!
Sherri’s birthday wish came true when the Clarke Sisters stopped by to perform “Higher Ground” from the new gospel all-star tribute Oh Happy Day — as well as their classic hit “You Brought The Sunshine.” Everyone in our audience took home a copy of Oh Happy Day and the group’s latest CD, The Clark Sisters Live&One Last Time!