Fame hate and the quotable Jaye Davidson

I’d love to be one of the greatest actors in the world. But acting often equates with fame. If you could be an actor, yet not be famous, that would be brilliant. – Jaye Davidson

I do believe I feel a painting coming on.

The reluctant star is a well-worn concept in the movie business. Half-shielding ones face while making an “unexpected” appearance in some hotspot, huge sunglasses and faining horror after accidentally flashing one’s bare crotch to paparazzi are de rigueur these days. I’d be hard-pressed to fall for such pretense delivered by anyone except perhaps Jaye Davidson, had he not disappeared entirely.

As our photo-evidence shows, Jaye is a deserving icon of sexual ambiguity. A striking unique appearance combined with natural acting talent landed this sometimes-destitute London fashion assistant three film roles and even an Oscar nomination, but more interesting is just how much Jaye genuinely hated his sudden fame.

Before The Crying Game even started filming in 1991 he attempted to break his contract, the only thing stopping him was advance money he’d already spent. After the Oscar nomination and media hullabaloo that followed he went off the radar, saying “The reason I haven’t got an agent is so that no one can contact me to offer me a film part”.

No one could accuse him of playing coy, either – Jaye’s only had two film parts since. He starred as himself in Catwalk, a documentary about the fashion industry, and as an ancient god in Stargate – a part someone half as vain could hardly refuse. In fact, Jaye didn’t agree to the role of Sun god Ra until after he saw the costumes – one of the lavish outfits cost $65,000!

Every interview I’ve read paints Jaye as an appropriately enigmatic and conceited creature. He spent much of his Crying Game money on clothes, surviving on rice and ketchup when the Stargate offer came. His distaste for fame is punctuated by how well he’s covered his tracks, but is shouldn’t be mistaken for modesty. He practically oozes confidence with each lightly insolent word and spouts some downright endearing idioms: “I’ve sold a very small part of myself, but certain people think they’re entitled to the rest of me. Of course, I am an incredibly strange person for the norm, so strange that I’m more normal than they’ll ever be.” Hilarious, yes, but he was only 24 at the time – perhaps he can be forgiven?

A beacon of reserve, Jaye’s been retired from acting for over 10 years. He’s probably getting by, having left the public eye at exactly the right moment to be remembered indefinitely. I still think someone ought to drag that man back into the spotlight where he so clearly belongs, if only to watch him squirm. In parting, two more entertaining quotes on the topic of femininity from mister Davidson.

“I went to the Ritz a couple of weeks ago, in London, where men have got to wear suits and ties. I’m sitting there in a whole suit, and they were still calling me “Madame”

“Gay men don’t really go for the way I look. Because obviously they’re into men. If you look a bit feminine, obviously they’re not really going to be into that. But I can’t say I’m really, really worried about not getting loads of offers.”

43 Responses to “Fame hate and the quotable Jaye Davidson”

  1. Dave Says:

    I agree. It’s wonderful seeing him act. We don’t have enough androgynous actors, and most of the “normal” ones are too vanilla for my taste. Sadly, interesting people know better about the dangers of being in the public eye. Or maybe they’re just teasing us.

  2. Ashbet Says:


    *bites fingers*


    — A ^_^

  3. ampersandpilcrow Says:

    Um. Wow. Yum, nipple rings and all.

    *needs a moment*

  4. skepticle Says:

    I wish he hadn’t dissappeared. Last I heard he was still trying to do fashion in LA.

  5. Zoetica Says:

    Skepticle – my research suggests he’s gone back to London to work in fashion as he was before his stardom. Hopefully he’s got enough money to avoid the ketchup and rice diet!

    Ampersand and Ashebt – mhmm.

    Dave – yeah – though he didn’t exactly have much of a chance to ACT in Stargate, I really think he could have played other roles. There really isn’t anyone out there who has the same sort of presence.

  6. Joshua Ellis Says:

    Back when they were talking about doing a miniseries adaptation of Clive Barker’s IMAJICA, I always wanted to see Jaye Davidson play the character of the androgynous assassin Pie ‘Oh’ Pah. The physical description Barker provides is actually, basically, Davidson with dreads.

  7. celestyna Says:

    Whoa. Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen hide nor luscious hair of Jaye since Stargate. Unfortunately Crying Game wasn’t as spectacular as it could have been for me, even though I saw it the week it came out, the big spoiler was pretty much front page news for a month before that.

  8. number18 Says:

    Oh man, his role in Stargate blew my mind. The very way he walked! I developed a bizarre crush on James Spader then as well. I was so young in 1994! On the verge of puberty. What a thing to see then…

  9. Tequila Says:

    I always wanted to smack him and say “Just have fun!” but he was so much a product of his era (unique looks aside) that you can forgive the guy. I wouldn’t put him in the generic Gen-X label but he did take a lot of the early attitude that label had and…just went to that next ego fueled level. I don’t think he would have been as interesting in the late 90’s early 00’s indie movie scene or the even more gigantic than Stargate blockbuster scene of trilogy flicks…still it’s a shame the fashion industry got him…Hollywood could have done some real magic with him…I’m sure we can each think of a half dozen films that would have been more interesting with him as a lead.

    And I don’t care if I lose some cool points for this…he’d have made a great Anne Rice vampire :P

  10. Marc Says:

    I have vague memories of of reading an interview with him at the time of Stargates release which said that he became so sick of being hounded by the production team during casting, that he demanded one million dollars for the role in the hopes of scaring them away.

    Instead (and much to Mr Davidsons surprise) they agreed to the fee.

    Of course there’s about fourteen years worth of living between me and that interview, so I could be entirely mistaken.

  11. Zoetica Says:

    Marc, you’re absolutely right. Jaye didn’t want to be part of Stargate and demanded a million as a laugh – he expected to be denied or laughed at!

    Tequila – I’d not hold that against you. The Interview with a Vampire film made even Tom Cruise hot for a moment! Imagine the damage Jaye would do.

  12. Io Says:

    I’m so glad you profiled him…I’ve always found this boy to be rather delectable.

  13. Zoetica Says:

    Joshua E. – we just rescued your comment from the spam filter. Jaye would have been absolutely perfect in that role!

  14. Jerem Morrow Says:

    How’d I miss this post!?!? I’ve more outright lust for this man than I’ve had for half of ze women I’ve growled after. Und hell, ALL of ze men. Jaye is almost unbearably fetching.

  15. Tom Says:

    I’m a straight guy, and even I thought Jaye was hot in the Crying Game. Had me fooled.

  16. Lauren Says:

    I saw a guy that looked just like him on the train today here in Chicago; the guy I saw had to be like, 6’5″ though, he was really tall. Still, he reminded me a lot of Jaye.
    Hope he’s happy, wherever he is.

  17. PokeyD Says:

    I loved Stargate and never forgot Jaye’s look. He had a look that I guess was unforgettable. Of course I never saw him in a film again or anything. So I was flipping through TV channels tonight and saw him on this Spanish speaking channel. Wanting to know what movie I had just seen him in, led me to do more research on him. Found out it was the Crying Game. But that’s how unforgettable his look is, just a brief scene on TV got me interested in finding out where he disappeared to. Interesting information regarding his brief career in movies and who he is. And coming from a straight guy, yeah, he is a pretty boy.

  18. Dillardia Says:

    I didn’t see The Crying Game when it first appeared, I only knew this beautiful lad from 1993 Academy Award. Then I watched Star Gate and to my horror that one sexy beautiful lad who filled the screen completely! I kept guessing is this a girl or a boy, a girl or a boy. None of the story made sense or even the casts. Since that, that sexy lovely character stays in my mind completely. Furthermore, Hollywood seems can not or do not want to loose him/her completely, judging by the black actresses (even white with black curly hair) or other films that more or less trying to remain the audience of the existence of that sexy lovely character. Just like Fergus, we can’t just let her go.

  19. rickie Says:

    jaye davidson is the only person whose beauty took my breath away.

    it happened when i watched ‘stargate’

    the most beautiful man in the world.

  20. Cesar Says:

    theirs only a couple of actors who were naturally talented in front of the camera as Jaye was one of them was James dean .Raw energy so seldom seen on screen anyway wish he would come out of retirement would definitely go see film .do everybody a favor make another film

  21. Mike F Says:

    I truthfully found Jaye as a talented actor with much to give to the movie scene. I do think he hung up his gloves far too soon, but one can only do what they feel is best for them. Not everyone is meant for the spotlight and if that’s not something he wanted to do, then I for one respect his opinion.
    I agree 100% though that if he ever returns to the screen, I’ll be the first one to buy tickets. Peace.

  22. Winominx Says:

    Here’s one for you: He looks like Shakira. Please, someone tell me I’m not crazy to think this?

  23. allyah Says:

    winominx, yeah u are crazy for suggesting that but ur right, he does kinda in a odd way. honestly i think it would be great to meet him but not as a fan because he is just not that kind of person, but as one person meeting another.
    he would be great as one of anne rices vampires. he is so beautiful, and intelligent too, which makes him all the more beautiful, cause you can see it in the way he carrys himself.
    anyway what i want to know is how is it know one knows what he is doing now? i mean i do not like the whole fan thing, i think its degrading, but i really would like to know.

  24. Bella Says:

    I agree he would be fantastic as a vampire. I saw Stargate when I was 14 yrs old and his performance/look left me with such a weird,curious yet exciting feeling. After all the years when I see a photo of him those feelings surface again. Its not even that I am interested in celebrities but there is something highly fasinating and alluring about him. Its as if he wears a cloak of mystery around him with an air of indifferance. Very strange yet sexy.

  25. Dante Says:

    I saw The Crying game when it first came out with my Hot Bi girlfriend who dragged me to see it. I didn’t think that much of it at the time and seeing it once was enough.
    However now that i’m older and a movie collector i picked it up with a bunch of movies i bought. I watched several times and Jaye played a woman about as good you possibly can with all the little games and things women do it reminded me of women that i dated in the past.
    I thought this is really weird but i thought she would be someone i’d like to be with, if only he was a girl.
    I don’t think jaye could have topped that performance and it should’ve won the academy award,but a Generic academy wasn’t willing to take the chance on this type of movie. The bartender was great in the movie and “the Metro” was a perfect scene for the movie. The movie was ripe for a “sequel” when fergus got out. You could take the storyline anywhere from that point.

  26. Anja Says:

    I actually first saw Jaye Davidson in Stargate, but honestly, it wasn’t until I have seen The Crying Game, I noticed his talent and of course,…man, he’s gorgeous!

    I so wish he made another movie, but no like a blockbuster, he probably wouldn’t want to do it. Like some underground movie that is about talent and not profit. Like the Crying game was. It would be perfect to see him in another Neil Jordan movie, perhaps even with Stephen Rea.

    Recently I saw one of Altman’s movies Pret-a-Porer, Ready to wear. There was Stephen Rea, and then Forrest Whitaker shows up, I was just waiting for Jaye Davidson to emerge from somewhere. It would be perfect.

    Anyhow, I love Jaye Davidson, he makes the world more beautiful.

  27. justin Says:

    im not a fag but even i must admit jaye davidson looks good for a man. he’s the most beautiful guy i’ve ever seen, if i had to fuck a man it would definitely be him. it’s amazing how he just disappeared completely from the spotlight light and vanished for so long, he hasnt been seen in over a decade. i just hate it when talented people who are in the prime of their career, call it quits just when their career is about to take off, they unexpectely quit and give it all up. jaye could of been the next brad pitt, he could of been the poster boy for gay actors everywhere, he could of did so much. well it was obvious he didnt want to be an actor in the first place thats why he didnt have an agent. i wonder does he still look the same ? does he still have good looks ?

  28. Gary Says:

    The greatest Tease should be Jaye’s epitaph.
    We don’t really know why this talented actor left something he was successful at to be something as ridiculous as an assistitant designer?
    Most of us would relish the idea of having his talent and be able to use it and obviously become famous.
    Maybe perhaps he was afraid of anti-gay ridicule and that comes with the hollywood scene. However, at this day and age people are more acceptable and he could do his thing and really not have any problems.
    Or maybe he’s just getting his rocks off knowing people want him and can’t have him,as he stated in an interview, “people can only have a small piece of me”. I do know this he played a female with all the little games and nuances that some of them do to such perfection enough to make straight guys want him,if only he/she was a girl. His exotic look and his self assuredness of his feminine side make him appealing to both men and women.
    He say’s he’d like to make movies if he could do it without bieng famous. He had no problem doing interviews and seems to relish the fact that he has the ability to take it or leave it especially when he says he asked for a million dollars and they actually paid him that much. You kind of wonder what he’s so afraid of? Many actors such as Redford dislike Hollywood. Make thier movie and in Redford’s case immediatley go back to his privacy at his ranch.
    In the crying game Jaye got to show people his dominant feminine side and apparently this part of him he doesn’t want to expose to the public more than once. They made such a big thing about the “secret” as a marketing point and you have to wonder if this didn’t have an effect on him. Being a “shocker” and depicted as one in the general public probably eye is probably not what he wanted,and who would. As a relative unkown with no previous movies behind him he would have a hard time escaping this profile in future roles. Back then it would’ve been tough,but I think today he could comeback and definately become a star and be well accepted. Otherwise he’ll stay in obscurity bieng one of the biggest teases in movie history,perhaps relishing in the fact, “they all want me but they can’t have me”

  29. david Says:

    such a beautiful young man-would love to see more of him-on my face maybe

  30. Sniper Says:

    Freedom, privacy, pride, complexity. Important things that often get compromised with the arrival of fame. If he manages to keep eluding the idolism then I’m glad for him.

  31. Magdalena Kamenev Says:

    If JD comes out of hiding for another movie, it should be as some sort of celestial being (or fallen celestial being … even more plausible) and he definitely needs to be paired with Tilda Swinson onscreen. The screen (and the audience members) may spontaneously combust …

  32. juvida Says:

    i heard jd will come out of hiding for movie’The Borghilde Project’ in 2009
    is there anybody who knows about this movie?

  33. SwanDiamondRose Says:

    well i certainly hope so

  34. Nepenthe Says:

    I think JD looks like davey havok from AFI

  35. BAI Says:

    I will sell my soul to the devil to look like JD

  36. Dante Says:

    Jaye on Facebook:


  37. Zoetica Says:

    Dante, the link is broken.

  38. Berit Says:

    I remember Jaye well from The Crying Game and Stargate, he was awesome in both! Thank you for writing this great tribute to him.
    I love his androgynous looks. We need more actors like this in the west. Several male actors/musicians in Japan and Korea look androgynous and very beautiful.

  39. Berit Says:

    Tilda Swinton comes to mind.

  40. marck Says:

    Not that he only be a beautiful vampire, just imagine him as Legolas in LOTR!

  41. bryant tilman Says:

    Time passes,

    I wonder at it; the appearance of human failure: “I couldn’t help myself”…”I lost control”…I bought passports and plane tickets. Finding you was hard. Spoke to you on the phone….finding you was very hard. Time passes.

    How the fuck are you? You used to e-mail me every blue moon or so. Bore you now, do I? Well things have changed for me as well. I’m doing well, BTW, as well as expected, seeing as Detroit is crumbling to the ground all around me. I hope you are well. I never meant you harm. It looks as though we are just two innocuous blips on a great big screen. I didn’t mean movie screen. They are shooting films in Detroit every week, it seems. At first I was interested in doing bit-parts, if I can cop ’em, but I realized I was just doing it to cling onto your memory.

    You’re old now and you’ve lost your looks. I’m old too, and years ago I’ve lost the idea that there was any hope for us…still say we should have tried harder to understand each other…when we had the time and the youth to make such mistakes…well…

  42. Nick Brown Says:

    Jaye, you were always someone I looked up to. I often wonder where you are now, probably a couple of miles away. You displayed a persona that although slightly intimidating, was also fascinating. My thoughts of you were always good, they remain always good; how could it be otherwise? You set me on a course that has been good to me. I doubt you have lost your looks, they are forever part of you and as for age? Should anyone care, then let them suffer and worry. Time passes, we cannot help being what we are.

    Jaye, whatever you are doing, wherever you are I wish you well. You lit up my life and you will always do so for those who are fortunate to know you.

  43. JayeDFan Says:

    Thanks for posting…always wondered what happened to Jaye Davidson. Such an incomparable and beautiful human being.