Talking to Jaye Davidson -- ''The Crying Game'''s Oscar nominated actress reflects on a sensational acting debut

By Steve Pond
Updated April 09, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

For anyone bored with predicting winners, this year’s Academy Awards offered a new Hollywood guessing game. This one centered on the 25-year-old novice with an Oscar-nominated acting debut in a supporting role in the year’s big sleeper, The Crying Game. ”Will Jaye Davidson show up?” was perhaps the week’s most-asked question, as was its corollary, ”What will Jaye wear?” As it happened, Davidson did show up, in thigh-high boots and a loose shirt jacket, hair in a chignon. Miramax Films even talked the reclusive Londoner (who was born in Riverside, Calif., but moved to England at age 3) into meeting a few reporters during Oscar week, albeit with lots of protection: During a brief interview, there was a bodyguard outside the door and a publicist, a producer, and a friend sitting at the conference table. Still, Davidson didn’t seem fragile so much as shy, soft-spoken, and genuinely uninterested in all the hoopla.

Are you disappointed you didn’t win the Oscar? No. I’m not a Hollywood person, and if they gave it to me, it would be very insulting for the other people, who are actors.

How did you feel about attending the ceremony? I was very divided on it. I didn’t want to insult the press — I don’t really like to insult anyone unless they really deserve it. A lot of it was due to the plane journey, because I really, really dislike flying. But at the same time, even though I didn’t have to do any publicity whatsoever, it was my job to support the film absolutely and completely. If I’d have hated the film, then I wouldn’t be here.

If you had known ahead of time the success the movie would have… I wouldn’t have done it. I thought it would play a few art houses and that would be it. Whoosh, straight onto video. I thought a lot of people would be very offended and dismiss it out of hand. But it went in the other direction and we sat home thinking, Oh, no.

Have you gotten any acting offers? From Hollywood, no. Not a single one. Then again, I never expected a single one. The people who’ve shown interest in me are European, art-house filmmakers. Which, to be quite honest, is probably what I would be more interested in.

Isn’t there any up side to being famous? No. I think it’s so strange that certain people think they know you because you’ve been in a film. It’s very flattering, but it’s also very scary. I mean, why on earth do they want to know me?

Maybe they want to know your character, Dil? I think a lot of people do, from some of the strange letters I’ve gotten. But unfortunately they haven’t been strange enough for me to really enjoy. I thought I’d get some really sick, wonderful letters. But they’ve all been very mediocre. There was one which was, um, 30 percent disturbing. But I mean, that’s only 30 percent.