Star Wars rumors are a little like the Force: They surround and penetrate us. They bind the nerd galaxy together.
With director J.J. Abrams ramping up to begin production early next year on Star Wars Episode VII, lately those rumors have focused on possible casting, and one of the names that’s popped up most often has been that of Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers. But the 36-year-old actor — who has starred in films like Velvet Goldmine and Match Point and played Henry VIII on Showtime’s The Tudors — brushes off the reports, telling EW that, for the moment at least, the Star Wars speculation is just that. “Look, I’ve worked with J.J.,” says Rhys Meyers, who co-starred in Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III in 2006. “But I don’t believe rumors.”
The fact is, aside from Mission: Impossible III, Rhys Meyers — who will next be seen in the title role on NBC’s new series Dracula, premiering Oct. 25 — has appeared in very few giant Hollywood productions. That may not be an accident. “To be honest, I don’t watch many movies,” he says. “There’s very, very few films that I will go to the cinema to see. I’ll go to the cinema to see anything by Paul Thomas Anderson or Nicholas Winding Refn or Mike Leigh or Steven Spielberg. But I don’t go to the cinema very often. I read a lot.”
Still, in the absence of hard information, Star Wars fans will happily fill the vacuum with feverish imaginings, and it’s not difficult to picture the brooding Rhys Meyers taking a spot in the universe George Lucas created, most likely on the dark side of the Force. After all, by his own admission, the actor isn’t exactly the heroic type. “I play bad guys because I look like one,” he says with a dry laugh. “There’s something in my physicality that’s quite intense and lends me to being feral. I mean, I’d love to be this lovely relaxed guy doing rom-coms, but I just don’t get those types of offers. I suppose I’m forever sort of the antihero.”
For more of EW’s interview with Jonathan Rhys Meyers and our comprehensive coverage on the upcoming fall TV season, check out the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.