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The Life of Jude Law

Australian Sunday Magazine
January 4th, 1998. pp.8-9

As Bosie he drives Oscar wild in an acclaimed new British film Wilde while Americans are lapping him up in Hollywood's latest offering. SUE SUMMERS talks to homebody Jude Law.

Tall and thin, with light brown hair cropped short over high cheekbones and expressive blue-green eyes, Jude Law looks as if he should be hanging out at trendy bars with blonded perched all around. But at a tender 24, Law prefers the sanctuary of his home."I'm a family man,"he says, as he moves through his grey brick terraced house in London's upmarket Primrose Hill, which he shares with his actress wife, Sadie Frost, and their children. After a well-publicised nude appearance in the stage version of Jean Cocteau's Les Parents Terribles, Law's latest screen role, In Wilde, as Lord Alfred Douglas (aka Bosie), Oscar Wilde's lover and nemesis, is bound to raise eyebrows.

"I suppose people will probably think I'm homosexual for the next couple of years," he says, laughing. "Not that it worries me. As far as I'm concerned, falling in love with Stephen Fry is as much a part of the job as falling in love with Raquel Welch." That job is making considerable demands on Law. He has completed his first Hollywood film, playing Billy Hanson in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, directed by Clint Eastwood, and his inspired performance as Bosie opposite Fry's Wilde has brought him a flood of offers.

But for now, the recently married Law is staying put with Sadie, their 10-month-old son, Rafferty, and Sadie's six-year-old son, Finlay, by her marriage to Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp. He met Frost, 29, four years ago, when they made Shopping, a British movie Law hated so much he didn't make another film for two years."I felt naive and stupid when I saw it because I thought it would be about the causes of joy-riding, but it was just a sensation look at the cool aspect of driving cars fast,"he says."The only good thing about it was that it brought me and Sadie together."

His career seems to have fallen into place as easily as his private life. Brought up in South London, the younger child of two teachers, he attended a government school until it became so violent his parents transferred him to a private school. Ironically, when researching his part in Shopping,two of the joyriders produced for him to meet were pupils from his governments school. Encouraged by his parents, he started acting at 12, originally with the National Youth Music Theatre, but then, at 17, he dropped out of school to spend a year as a tearaway in Granada TV soap called Families."I wouldn't recommend anyone watch it, but I had a great time,"he says. "After that, I didn't want to do Corry (Coronation) Street or The Bill, I just wanted to go into theatre.That, to me, was more exciting." He barely had time to make th rounds of London's leading fringe theatres- Hampstead, the Royal Court Upstairs, The Gate before the National Theatre snapped him up to star in Les Parent Terribles. He followed that with the title role in Euripides' rarely staged Ion at the Royal Shakepeare Company and when the National transferred Les Parents Terribles to Broadway, he capped the double act by commuting between the two roles.m"To be honest, I've achieved everything I could ever have possibly dreamed of achieving," he says. "That sounds terribly arrogant. But you go to the National with your parents and thin: 'I'd love to be here.' And then suddenly you are. It's a dream come true."

It is a mark of Law's talent that he is able to transcend his look on screen. Watching him as Bosie,you are blind to his beauty and absorbed instead by his vindictiveness, shallowness and uncaring attitude."I didn't want to be considered just the dashing young lead,"Law says."Yes, Bosie was meant to be beautiful, but hopefully his viciousness shows another side to him which isn't beautiful at all. I'd go as far as to say it was Bosie who introduced Wilde to the darker, seedier side of Victorian life that comes out in his work. Even though he was in love with Wilde-in as much as he could love anyone-he said he didn't find him attractive and wouldn't sleep with him. Instead,he made Oscar watch him have sex with rent boys." Bosie,says Jude,was responsible for Wilde's downfall. "He drove Oscar into the scandal then left him to die sick and alone in Paris. Bosie came back to England, had children, denied everything he'd done and died an angry old man in 1945. I can't defend him. But he was terribly abused in childhood by his father, the Marquess of Queensberry, who was a brute."

Although what Law most craves is to spend time with his family-"My priorities are Sadie and Raff. I'd drop everything tomorrow to be with my son"-he 's already lined up his next part, the lead in Wisdom of Crocodiles. And he and Sadie have set up a film company, Natural Nylon, with law's "dearest friends" Ewan McGregor, Sean Pertwee,and Johnny Lee Miller-Britain's hottest acting talent. "We've got three films being written for next year, which we'll produce as well as act in,"he says."I don't want to sell myself to someone else for a three-picture deal. What it comes down to is doing it on my terms. I want to be able, now and always,to make my decisions for the right reasons-for my reasons."

And off he goes to put the kettle on.

Article Submitted by: Marina(

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