All about ‘Match Point’

Matthew Carroll

Actor cynical of Hollywood lifestyle

Above: Matthew Goode, left, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers star in Woody Allen’s new dramatic thriller. Below: Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers meet for a secret tryst.

Credit: Ben Breier

By now, most moviegoers are all too familiar with Irish actors Colin Farrell and, to a lesser extent, Batman Begins and Red Eye star Cillian Murphy. But there is another Irish actor more than ready to make his own imprint on American cinema: Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Meyers was born in 1977 in Dublin, Ireland. His first acting job was a small role in 1994’s A Man of No Importance. In more recent years, he has landed roles in movies like Prozac Nation, Bend It Like Beckham, Vanity Fair and the Colin Farrell-headed epic, Alexander.

His most visible role to date came when he played Elvis Presley in the television miniseries “Elvis” earlier this year. Next year you can see him in the blockbuster Mission: Impossible franchise, as Tom Cruise takes a break from his Katie Holmes obsession to have a third go-around as secret agent Ethan Hunt.

Amid this very busy schedule, Meyers landed the lead role in Woody Allen’s new drama Match Point, co-starring Scarlett Johansson. The film, which debuts in New York and Los Angeles later this year, is the first Allen shot completely in Meyers’ hometown of London, which is just fine with him.

“I’ve been living in Los Angeles for the last few months. I’m shooting Mission: Impossible,” Meyers said. Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, he added, “I would never voluntarily live in Southern California.”

His dislike of all things Hollywood stems from his dislike of the actor’s lifestyle in general.

“Over the last 10 years of being on films, I’ve always found the most boring situation I’ve ever been in is going to dinner with a group of actors,” Meyers said. “It just tends to be one-liners across the table for the duration of the evening, seeing if we can outdo each other.”

Throughout his now 10-year, 30-plus movie career, Meyers has developed a very sterile, business-like attitude toward not only actors, but the filmmaking process in general.

“It’s a very sort-of, like, fake environment. And not in the sense of, like, ‘it’s all plastic and it’s all fake,’ but it is,” Meyers said. “You’re kind of like a close family unit for about 12 weeks while you’re shooting a film, and then you go off and you do different things and you enter into new family units. It’s kind of hard to commit too much emotional stock when you know you’re going to say goodbye.”

This sensibility overflows into his work as an actor as well. Meyers said he tries not to over-analyze the characters he is trying to portray, but instead tries to make acting as simple a process as possible.

“The more simple I keep it, the more clear an idea that I’m going to give to the audience of what I’m doing,” said Meyers. “Then the audience can intellectualize it until the cows come home.”

Even in a movie as emotionally complicated as Match Point, he tries to make it about the character and not about his interpretation of that character.

“When I played Chris Wilton, I had to forget my own moralistic values and play it with no morals at all,” he said. “Accept the morals the character has at any given point.”

Morals or not, it’s now up to the audience to decide whether or not Meyers’ approach to acting scores an ace at the box office.

Contact ALL correspondent Matt Carroll at [email protected].