The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Saturday, October 29, 1994             TAG: 9410290022
SOURCE: Mal Vincent 
                                             LENGTH: Medium:   80 lines


NOW THAT YOU know all there is to know about ``The Crying Game,'' what about Jaye Davidson?

Can't place the name? He's the guy who fooled us all - and walked off with an Oscar nomination - as the charismatic Dil in ``The Crying Game,'' the gritty 1992 drama. On Oscar night, emcee Billy Crystal pointed out that Davidson's performance proved that ``white men really CAN jump.''

Three years ago, Davidson was a hairdresser in London with no interest in acting. He didn't even want to audition for ``The Crying Game,'' but went along with a friend. Director Neil Jordan had just about given up on making the film because he couldn't find a convincing person to play Dil.

The hit status of the film didn't thrill Davidson. He claimed he got very little money for it and couldn't afford time away from his regular job to come to America for the premieres. He issued statements that he didn't want to ever be in another movie. Only after the most lengthy coaxing did he agree to attend the Academy Awards ceremonies.

Things haven't changed that much. Everything about Jaye Davidson is still shrouded in mystery.

It took more than $1 million to lure him back to the movies. This time he's playing Ra, the evil ruler of the city of Nagada in the science-fiction spectacular ``Stargate.'' Like last time, Davidson's again hiding out in London, turning down interviews.

Still, Jaye Davidson was all the talk the day after ``Stargate'' was unveiled in Hollywood. The real stars, Kurt Russell and James Spader, were a little irritated by the constant question: ``What is Jaye Davidson really like?''

``I don't really know him,'' Spader said. ``I worked for four months in filming this movie. Jaye was there one and a half weeks, and he spoke only in an ancient Egyptian language. You'll have to ask someone else.''

``He dresses like a man, but looks like a woman. He's ambivalent,'' said director Roland Emmerich.

``The part was originally written for an older man,'' said co-writer Dean Devlin. ``Then, we thought that was too much of a cliche to have this ranting, old tyrant. We rewrote him to be a boy-king who rules with mythology rather than hundreds of guards. He uses religion to rule the people.

``But who could play it? The name of Jaye Davidson came up, but we thought there was no chance to get him. He had said he never wanted to be in another movie. I think he wants to be a fashion designer.''

Devlin said Davidson reconsidered when he learned that he wouldn't have to speak in the movie, except for an ancient Egyptian dialect that was to be created for the screenplay.

``Then he saw the costumes,'' Devlin said. ``That did it. He realized that we were really taking the movie seriously, that it wasn't some cheap thing.''

Costume designer Joseph Porro said, ``I decided to put my money on Jaye, because that's what the audience wants to see. If he's going to be the ruler of a planet, then he has to look like a ruler. Jaye had trouble taking those costumes off at night. He kept saying, `Please, can I have them?' In the end, he didn't get them. One of his costumes alone cost $65,000. It was hand-sewn and hand-designed jewels with peacock feathers.

``Jaye is covered with tattoos, but they're easy to hide with makeup. He has an incredible head of hair - down to the waist. He was very cooperative during filming. He's not disagreeable at all.''

``He didn't want to do the film, but, once there, he went with it,'' added Emmerich. ``He's totally blind when he wears that mask in the film, and he has to walk down those flights of stairs that way. He can't see a thing. He rehearsed a great deal.''

Again, Davidson is saying this will be his last film.

``He hates all the attention,'' Emmerich said. ``He's very tormented by what he sees as the outside world. He feels that people are staring at him. I think going to the Academy Awards was real agony for him. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't mean it and will never make another movie.

``Jaye is not an actor at all. He just has a natural ability to act.'' ILLUSTRATION: Color photo by Metro Goldwyn Mayer

The enigmatic ruler Ra (Jaye Davidson, center) and his attendants

convene in the throne room.

by CNB