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The Happy Prince exclusive: Watch Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde on anniversary of imprisonment

Lydia Smith May 25, 2018

On the 123rd anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment on supposed indecency charges, PinkNews has an exclusive look at new biopic The Happy Prince.

The biographical drama film, written and directed by Rupert Everett, follows the poet’s tragic final years and his prison sentence for being gay.

Wilde is portrayed by Everett, 58, who appears unrecognisable as the famed writer.

The film also features Academy Award-winner Colin Firth as Reggie Turner, a friend and contemporary of Wilde, who remained loyal to him during his imprisonment and after his release.

In the clip, Wilde and Turner discuss his release from prison after two years.

Colin Morgan plays Wilde’s lover Lord Alfred Douglas, whose relationship with the playwright led to his downfall at the hands of Douglas’ father, the Marquess of Queensberry.

Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Anna Chancellor and Edwin Thomas also feature in the film, which is set for release in UK cinemas on June 15.

A synopsis for the film reads: “The film opens in Paris, where Wilde, by now in his forties, penniless and in poor health, is still reeling after being imprisoned in England for his love affair with Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas (Colin Morgan).

“Out of prison but a pariah, Wilde swings between grief and a determination to wrest whatever pleasure and beauty he can from the time he has left.

The Happy Prince will be released in UK cinemas in June

“His body ailing and heavy, his mind spinning, he survives by falling back on the flamboyant irony and brilliant wit that defined him.

“Everett’s Wilde is tortured but determined to remain true to himself. His thoughts are filled with love and betrayal and permeated with those closest to him: Bosie, his literary agent Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas), his great friend Reggie Turner (Colin Firth) and his estranged wife Constance (Emily Watson).

“As the film travels through Wilde’s final act, and journeys from England to France and Italy, desire and loyalty face off, the transience of lust is laid bare, and the true riches of love are revealed.”

The Happy Prince premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was shown at this year’s BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival.

Oscar Wilde
The Happy Prince is set during Wilde’s final years after his imprisonment

Ahead of the film’s release, Everett made a comparison between Oscar Wilde and the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

He told Attitude: “I think there is a connection between Drag Race and Oscar Wilde.

“That performance level and that irony towards your own kind, which is what Wilde was about.”

Everett went on to praise Wilde for the part he played in introducing the LGBT+ rights movement.

“The gay liberation movement really starts with Oscar Wilde. In one sense, he’s the centre of what we’re living now,” he said.

The Happy Prince is released on June 15

More: Film Reviews, Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince

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