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Jude Law is Back on Track

Jude Law is Back on Track

UK’s GQ Magazine gives us an inside look at a week in the life of Britain’s most charismatic and glamorous actor. Jude Law. Two years ago Jude was Hollywood’s golden boy. Then came damaging revelations about his private life and a backlash against his films. In his first interview since 2004, and with three hotly anticipated movies in the offing, our forefront film actor tells GQ how he got his life and career back on track. Read the full article after the jump and check out the rest of the pictures in the gallery!

NOTE :: To read the full article, navigate by page numbers, which can be found after the gallery. It’s like a novel, so make sure you have a bit of time before sitting down to read the whole thing. It’s a doozy!

Jude Law

GQ Magazine UK :: November 2006

Standing outside the Moondance Diner, on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Grand Street, there’s a lopsided character with papery skin stretched tight over his skull, what-you-looking-at eyes and a flame of spiky red hair.

He’s been loitering here for hours, cradling his zoom lens in the crook of his arm, waiting for another photograph of Jude Law. Next to him, his familiars: two tight-shorted Hispanic girls with cameras of their own. They just took pictures of Norah Jones holding a Thermos flask up to her face, walking from the catering area back to video village, where a bunch of us are standing around staring at a monitor. We’re watching a scene in which Jones’ love interest, the owner of a cafe played by Law, wipes down his counter top and then eats a chicken sandwich. Over and over and over again.

This is the New York set of My Blueberry Nights, the first English language film from the Hong Kong Chinese director Wong Kar Wai, who made the exquisite In The Mood For Love and the baffling 2046. The movie marks Jones’ acting debut – she’s better known as a jazz singer – but Law, at 33, is an old hand: when this film is re1eased some time in 2007, it’ll be his 27th feature.

Officially, this is a closed set, so I’ve no more right to be here than the ghoulish paparazzo, but I’m friends with Ben Jackson, Law’s gently sardonic assistant and putative production partner, and I’ve been smuggled in to meet the star and watch him at work.

It’s a Wednesday night in July, around 9pm, hot and wet, and Law will be working until 5am. Then, tomorrow, he will pose for the pictures on these pages, his first magazine shoot since late 2004, when he appeared in six films in close succession.

Since then his career has faltered, at least in terms of the public’s perception of it, and his private life, such as it is, has endured a series of convulsions. Not that you’d necessarily guess all this as he swaggers over to say hello, in short-order-cook costume: a tight, white wife-beater vest, jeans and a butcher’s apron.

Law is a generous host, making introductions, apologizing for the heat, inquiring after my jet lag (I’m just a few hours off the plane from London) and generally making himself accommodating. If we stick around until lunchtime – at 11pm – he says we’ll be able to grab a quick beer together at Lucky Strike, down the road.

When that bar proves too busy, we’re invited back to his suite for a raid on the mini bar and, as will become apparent,a typically wide-ranging discussion; this Amstel Light was brought to me by the Tate Modern extension, England’s chances in the second Test against Pakistan, Dave Gilmour, the weirdness of Iceland, and the overlooked genius of Steve Coogan’s Saxondale.

In a few days, I imagine, when we sit down to talk with the tape recorder switched on, he’ll be more reserved, but for now, it seems, I’m a friend of Jackson’s here to do a job of work, and I’m to be treated as such. Unusually, particularly given the strained nature of Law’s relationship with the press, that’s what I remain over the coming days: at the shoot; over convivial early-hours drinks with Law and Jackson and Law’s publicist, Sara Keene, in his suite on the second night of my visit; on the day of the interview itself, his first in more than 18 months, when we spend almost three hours talking in his room; and most particularly on my last night in town, when Jackson’s and my tentative plans to see Miami Vice are shelved in favor of a proper boys’ night out.

By that point, of course, the formal interview is over with, but until it is, and despite all the bonhomie, I’m still apprehensive about how our conversation will go. I can’t believe he doesn’t feel some trepidation of his own. There is, after all much to discuss, some of it presumably fairly painful for him to have to talk about with a journalist.

“You can’t imagine what it feels like to be, for a week, the carcass for the British press.”

This summer, Jude Law went to the Royal Court Theatre in London to see the new Tom Stoppard play, Rock’N'Roll. When Brian Cox spoke the above line, about the private pain of public ignominy, Law felt like putting up his hand and bellowing: “I can!” He didn’t have to imagine anything. He had a pretty good idea how Cox’s character felt.

It might seem churlish, even cruel, to pore over his troubles again, but for the benefit of those without a subscription to Closer magazine, they began in earnest in 2003, when he was divorced from Sadie Frost his wife since 1997 and the mother of his three children – Rafferty (ten), Iris (six) and Rudy (four). The break-up of what had been regularly fussed over as a “perfect” marriage, as if there really could be such a thing, was occasionally fractious, as break-ups often are, and the tabloids published numerous photos of the couple wandering around their home patch of north London, together or alone, looking understandably grumpy.

More was to follow in early 2005 when, shortly after he had proposed to his new girlfriend, the actress Sienna Miller, a friend of his and his ex-wife’s, Pearl Lowe, told a newspaper that she and her husband, Danny Goffey of the band Supergrass, had had sex with their more famous neighbors. Cue lots of salacious Venn diagrams in the sort of magazines aimed at women who don’t get out much, explaining the supposedly tangled sexual histories of the Primrose Hill “set”.

Then, more damagingly, in July 2005 Law admitted to cheating on Miller with his children’s nanny, Daisy Wright, while filming in New Orleans at the beginning of the year. “1 just want to say I am deeply ashamed and upset that I’ve hurt Sienna and the people most close to us,” he said. Miller briefly took up with Daniel Craig, her co-star in the gangster film Layer Cake, before she and Law were reunited, then split again, then reunited. They’re together when I meet him, although temporarily separated by his filming commitments in New York and hers in Canada. Law no longer lives in Primrose Hill, having moved a couple of miles west to Maida Vale, and says he has begun at last to find equilibrium in his life.

But it’s been a bumpy ride. “What can I say?” he asks me, sitting cross-legged on an armchair in his hotel suite, in Dior Homme jeans and a sleeveless grey T-shirt, and for a moment neither of us says anything. The suite is big, the biggest in this hotel, a duplex with a private terrace, but the possessions of the practiced international traveller are fairly standard: Apple iBook, some papers, a pile of paperbacks with a Dylan Thomas poetry collection on top, a photo of his kids propped up above the air-conditioning dial.

Suddenly, monsoon rain is hurling itself at his floor-to-ceiling windows, slicking the streets outside. I’ve asked him to tell me about his affair with the nanny.

“Those things to a greater extent happen to us all,” he begins, treading gingerly. “And they’re not planned and they’re not even explainable in a way. And I’ve apologized to the people that I think matter in that situation. And there’s not really an awful lot more I can do or say. But you can’t run away. You have to take it on the chin, learn somehow to hold your head up high and face up to it.”

He says none of this airily or without care. In fact, for at least some of the time, he’s rather racked. He hunches, stares at the floor, furrows his brow, squeezes the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger, grimaces a little, and breaks out in a sweat.

Earlier in our conversation, referring to his film career, he’d talked about not having regrets. Presumably, though, he regrets cheating on his fiancee? “I regret hurting anyone,” he says quietly, looking me in the eye. “I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”

It’s humiliating enough, I suppose, being caught in flagrante even if, as with the rest of us, no one outside a tiny circle of people would ever know or care. Far worse to have one’s infidelity paraded for the pleasure of a hostile press and a prurient public.

“That’s true,” he says, taking an admirably phlegmatic line, “except that because it’s in a public forum, on one hand there’s a benefit because everyone wants to offer their advice… If I was a bank clerk, I’d be on my own, instead of getting everyone’s take on it, and the interesting thing about cliches is that a lot of them do actually come from the right place, and they are the little life rafts you cling on to while you’re sinking.” Then he smiles, grimly. “Those and a bottle of bourbon.”

Law isn’t trying to excuse his behavior but he does feel that perhaps he’s one of those people the media delights in tormenting.

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  • smozan

    Sometimes he can look so sexy. (Other times I really, really want him to take a shower and stop wearing tight pants.)

  • bow down

    He was at his best in The Talented Mr. Ripley. He looks dirty here.

  • Love

    he looks gorgeous.

  • Rafael

    Eita homem bonito!!!

    The most beautiful person on Earth ever for sure.

  • the tempest

    God, he’s so hot. That picture in the middle on the bottom row – YUM! Great outfit.

  • gigi

    i wasn’t aware he made a comeback…

  • natasha

    im sorry but jude is the man!

  • Sandy

    We’ve been waiting for this and it does not dissappoint. His answers seem honest and heartfelt
    and he seems to understand himself as well as any
    complex and conflected person in his shoes could at
    this point in his life. I just hope the world lets him enjoy his life and do what he does best and indeed
    better than 98% of this generation of actors – act!

  • Ilovejude


  • Willow

    I’ve been reading snippets of this interview all week as internet tabloids like Contact Music pull out selected quotes and hang sensational blurbs around them in an attempt to make the news rather than report it. It’s great to see the quotes in context at last. Thank you.

  • dolores craeg

    what can i say? i’ve been watching this man since “wilde” where his entrance scene knocked me off my chair. the camera lingered on his golden beauty and the camera has been in love with him ever since. sure he’s been up and down more times than a see saw but he has the acting ability that will always keep him on the screen. what sean penn said is right…people don’t see the actor in jude law …his beauty gets in the way…but the boy is becomming a man and beauty turns to handsome….he’s got that intangible quality that says “star” jared thank you for this jude feast. you are a love.

  • elle

    thank you so much for this article!! I love Jude. I like the last quote at the very end.

  • Daphne

    Thank you Jared! Jude is a wanted man indeed — wanted by me!! I love the actor. I love the man. Even if he were an obnoxious jerk I would still love him for his talent. But reading this about him as himself, well… what can I say but that it’s good to know the person you admire is up to snuff.

  • Dr Jube

    oh fark. In the shirt and tie, bottom row centre.
    He’s so hot it hurts.

  • Hil

    Thanks for posting the entire article, I really enjoyed the read. Jude is such a fascinating character. Love him.

  • macheath

    I was skeptical, but then he used the word ‘churlish,’ and I’m a sucker for a man who knows words like ‘churlish.’

  • Asia

    Woah! he is so dirty, sexy, gorgeous, amazing… The hottest man on earth!

    Lucky Sienna…

  • Kimmy

    He was so hot in Cold Mountain. That love scene with Nicole Kidman is like drawdropping. I love him.

  • dolores craeg

    i’m so glad that the comments all seem to appreciate this amazing guy. not only is he beyond sexy and talented,,,,what about beautiful ……but he’s got this mystique about him. his eyes are dangerous. his smile is like sunshine …the waY HE MOVES HIS BODY IS TO DIE FROM…..JUDE…YOU ARE INDEED A RARITY OF ONE.

  • Miss M

    My bf looks a lot like him… same golden chest hair… same figure… same eyes… but a different character… he doesn’t cheat!!!

  • Susie

    Miss M — Who the hell cares about you and your bf. You are so disgustingly smug. You should call yourself Miss P, for Miss Priss.

  • dolores craeg

    right on susie. our jude can live his life anyway he wants. england and the usa are free countries last time i looked. all jude law owes us are good performances which he generally gives us. also looking at him in candids ,on screen or professional photo shoots is one of life’s rare pleasures. this is one sexy beautiful guy. a feast for the eyes. what he does in his personal life is no different than with anyone else. it’s his business not ours.

  • Sara

    omg, i love jude law .
    he is soooo cute and lovely!

  • !!vanessahudgens!!

    ohh myy gosh dylan is sooo hooooottt and zac efroonn toooooo lovee theeeeemm !!!!! vanessaaaaaaaa hudgens are my liifeeee!!!!!

  • Builders Newcastle

    Jude Law so cool guy, we repair his roof for him!