It makes a massive amount of sense that Rupert Everett is finally playing famed writer Oscar Wilde in the new movie The Happy Prince. In one of his first roles after breaking into mainstream stardom in the late 90s Everett starred in An Ideal Husband, a role that showed how suited his style and charisma were to Wilde’s words.
This new movie is no comedy of manners, though. Named after a Wilde short story of heartbreak and sadness, The Happy Prince – which Everett also wrote and directed – follows Wilde as he faces death and reflects back on his life and all it’s encompassed. That includes his marriage to Constance (Emily Watson) as well as his conviction for immoral behavior because of his homosexuality, which led him to several same-sex affairs.
Wilde and his companion Alfred Bosie Douglas (Colin Morgan) are strolling merrily along a narrow path between buildings on the poster, showing one of the key relationships that will impact the story being told. It’s not an extraordinarily dynamic image, but it gets the point across, especially with the pull quote from a positive review at the top.
The first trailer shows that the movie will deal with Wilde’s dual personas as both the toast of London at the time and someone who ran afoul of the city’s morality laws. We see him be town between being true to himself and wanting to live his life free of those who would judge him.
There’s a lot of drama and Everett looks great in the role, with the ending showing that he’s also the creative force behind the movie on many fronts.
Online and Social
Sony Classics’ website offers a fair bit of information on the movie. The page starts with the trailer. Close that and scroll down the page and you’ll find a story “Synopsis” along with a statement from Everett about how much he’s always been drawn to Wilde’s work and what making the movie meant to him as well as a few production notes. “Cast” has the filmographies of those involved before the site ends with a stills “Gallery.” The studio only created a unique Facebook page for the movie but did support it on other brand channels.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’ve come across, but there may have been some targeted online ads in the locations the movie is first opening in.
Media and Publicity
Everett and the rest of the primary cast brought the movie to Sundance this year, where they talked about the story and the making of the film. A screening and Q&A was also hosted just recently by the L.A. Film Festival.
While, understandably, there was a heavier promotional push in the U.K., Everett did show up on “The Late Late Show” to talk more about making the movie.
This is a great reminder of how societal mores have changed drastically over the years and should continue to do so. That Wilde was imprisoned because of his sexuality – albeit with the fig leaf of morality laws – is something that should be more widely recognized, clearly something Everett beliefs and which drove him to tell this story.
The campaign won’t do much to attract anyone not already given to character driven dramas of real life events, but that’s alright. It will be interesting to see how the movie does in the U.K. compared to whatever its U.S. fate might be.