Is everything, you know, perfectly OK with Jeremy Irons? He seems to have acquired a taste for talking bollocks about sex. His most recent spasm came during an interview with the Huffington Post in which he seemed less than enthusiastic about gay marriage. “I worry that it means somehow we debase, or change, what marriage is,” he said. “I just worry about that.” As if to pre-empt accusations that he was being illiberal, he veered off into speculation: “Could a father,” he mused, “not marry his son?”
Resisting the urge to shout “What are you on about?” his interviewer reminded him there are laws that prohibit incest. Ah yes, said Irons, but “it’s not incest between men… incest [law] is there to protect us from inbreeding. But men don’t breed”.
No indeed, Jeremy, but the law still prohibits “sexual relations between members of the same immediate family” so I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Jeremy wasn’t finished, though. He concluded his foggy discourse by praising love: “Living with another animal, whether it be a husband or a dog, is great. It’s lovely to have someone to love. I don’t think sex matters at all.”
A whole stew of sexual ambiguity and thwarted desire seems to seethe behind his anodyne words. One cannot but feel sympathy for his long-suffering wife of 34 years, Sinead Cusack. And, indeed, his sons Max and Samuel. And his dog.
Irons has form in shooting his mouth off. He’s started to rival Mel Gibson in making incontinent utterances. In 2011, he came across as a bit of a sleazebucket when he talked about his fondness for patting women’s rears. “If a man puts his hand on a woman’s bottom, any woman worth her salt can deal with it. It’s communication. Can’t we be friendly?”
He also told the world how, when he was young, older men would communicate, sorry, touch him up, but “I would just tell them to get lost”. He returned to the subject this February, telling The Times: “I love touching. I always touch people.”
The word “creepy” doesn’t quite cover it. But whenever you find an actor making controversial off-the-cuff remarks, you’ll soon find an imminent film or TV release. In this case it’s Season 3 of The Borgias, which starts on 14 April. In Neil Jordan’s racy drama, Irons plays the corrupt and lecherous Rodrigo Borgia, who becomes Pope Alexander VI. Perhaps this explains both his air of infallibility, and his liking for pontification…