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This new Oscar Wilde film looks stunning

Josh Jackman April 19, 2018

(Lionsgate Films UK)

The trailer for The Happy Prince, a new film about Oscar Wilde’s last years, has dropped – and it looks incredible.

Rupert Everett directs and stars in the biopic, which shows the playwright exiled in Europe, haunted by his two-year imprisonment for gross indecency with men under the UK’s historic anti-gay laws.

The Picture of Dorian Gray writer, who had a string of male lovers, was famously arrested and sent to Reading Gaol in 1895. He died in 1900, just three years after being released from prison.

His time behind bars was the basis for his final ever work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a long poem in which he reflected on the harsh rhythms of his daily prison life.

The film, which comes out on June 15 after premiering at the BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival, also stars Colin Firth – as Wilde’s friend Reggie Turner – and Emily Watson as his tortured wife.

Everett’s Wilde is penniless, downtrodden and dying in Paris, but still with the wit, insightfulness and beautiful way with words that made him such a wonderful writer.

(Lionsgate Films UK)

In the voiceover, Wilde remarks regretfully: “I love him as I always did – with a sense of tragedy and ruin.”

He adds: “There’s no mystery so great as suffering, and suffering is nothing when there is love.

“Love is everything.”

(Lionsgate Films UK)

The film follows Wilde across Europe, as he recovers from his tragic love affair with Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas – played by Merlin actor Colin Morgan – and tries to find joy wherever he can.

Last year, a secular temple dedicated to Oscar Wilde opened in New York after 20 years of planning.

The site of worship, which was located in the basement of a church in the East Village, was created by artists David McDermott and Peter McGough, who lived for years like Victorians before the three-month installation.

(Lionsgate Films UK)

They wore top hats and high-starched collars, and even opted to remove electricity and a series of other conveniences from their New York flat.

The temple included a centrepiece altar built around a four-foot statue of Wilde, and a pedestal inscribed with his prisoner number.

The walls showed illustrations of tabloid headlines about Wilde during his lifetime, as well as portraits of LGBT icons Brandon Teena, Marsha P. Johnson and Alan Turing.

(Lionsgate Films UK)

“He invoked all of us to rebel, that it was the inherent quality of human beings to be rebellious, to move society, to be individual,” said curator Alison Gingeras, who organised the project.

The Greenwich Village church has a strong LGBTQ contingent, and the pastor of the site of worship celebrated the installation.

“It fits so deeply into the ethos of this congregation, which we call radically inclusive,” said Pastor Wells.

Watch the incredible trailer here:

More: Colin Firth, entertainment, Film Reviews, Gay, Oscar Wilde, Rupert Everett, UK

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