WHY ARE THEY FAMOUS? NO 14: JEREMY IRONS

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The Independent Culture
Main Claim: Jeremy is an ac-tor. The Laurence Olivier de nos jours.

Appearance: Virulent yet hypnotic python that rears out of a basket. Overgrown Oxbridge scholar with fastidious upper lip. Psychotic computer hacker/grave-digger/hit man/cadaver.

Stop Press: Jeremy is threatening to leave England. He's in a bit of a strop because his film's not on here. The Daily Mail has suggested that he is welcome to leave: "Why most of us would be delighted if Jeremy Irons did leave Britain" screamed its front page, while the London Evening Standard helpfully added: "The door's that way, Mr. Irons." Popular chappy. Jez has been stamping his foot because Adrian Lyne's pounds 31m remake of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (paedophile; child; scandal) has not yet found a distributor here.

Family Values: Jezzer's been married for a couple of decades to actress Sinead Cusack. Thus he has a raft of thespie in-laws. Imagine, if you will, the Christmas game of charades. In the eyes of the public, Sinead (wide, tired face, impressive acting) plays second fiddle to the genius that is Jeremy. The Irons family lives in Hampstead. There's a son who looks horribly like pater. Watch out.

Fall from Grace: Jeremy used to be a bit of a find. All that brooding intensity, all that Hamlet-style soul searchy lark, was quite appealing for a while. In Love For Lydia, the 1970s TV series, he was pretty attractive to boot. However, Jeremy's ability to irritate has grown over the years. We don't like watching him make love (high speed ravishing in The French Lieutenant's Woman; thrusty stuff with prostitute in Swann in Love; excruciating gymnastics in Damage). His acting is predictable; tortured in a sibilant, twitching manner. He likes playing dirty old men (Damage; Stealing Beauty; Lolita). He appears supremely vain, all sinewed gym-trained torso in the infamous Damage, and eyebrow expressions in publicity shots. To summarise, Jeremy's ego seems rather sizeable.

Modest Claims: Jeremy's alleged lack of modesty is widely discussed. "Everyone I meet wants to take a little bit of me away with them," he is reported as saying. He wore trainers to a black tie event with Prince Charles. Oh, how special.

Fame Prospects: Jez should storm out of fun-free Blighty. He'd earn his crust over the pond, no bother. Once he's gone, we'd forget how irritating he is, give him a knighthood, and name the odd stage or foyer after him. Go for it, Jez.

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