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Fine & Thandie: with two new films in theaters this month, British actress Thandie Newton gives us a Crash course in versatility.

THIS OCTOBER, THANDIE NEWTON appears on-screen as two disparate divas: ruthless accountant Stella in Guy Ritchie's crime caper RocknRolla and stylish Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in W,, Oliver Stone's Bush biopic. Addressing both Ritchie's alleged homophobia and the gossip around Rice's sexual orientation, the BAFTA Award-winning Crash star--who played Tom Cruise's love interest in Mission: Impossible II--also reveals a recurring theme in her life of lusting after gay men.

How are you, Thandie? Yesterday I was in bed all day shivering, so I feel pretty rubbish.

Well, gays adore you! Are you aware of that fan base? I'm not aware of any fan base at all, to be honest-apart from Germans, who, for some reason, make me very aware of them. Is it big?

This isn't called Big Gay Following for nothing. I love that! I have quite a large number of gay friends.


Who's your closest one? My friend Ford, whom I'm about to have lunch with. When I see him I'm going to brag about my big gay following.

When did you first realize what it meant to be gay? My godfather is gay, but I was also a bridesmaid at my cousin Dorothy's wedding, and she married a man who we all knew was gay. So, yeah, it's very much in my social genes.

Dorothy sounds like your character Stella in RocknRolla. Yes, [Stella] is married to Bertie, who's gay. Gay men are more evolved emotionally than straight men and stronger too, because they've had to make claims that are very often difficult to make in our social environment. So there's that strength and sensitivity we crave.

Have you ever unwittingly been attracted to a gay man? I have. I was on a movie with Jon Bon Jovi called The Leading Man--camp as Christmas, that one-and my makeup artist Robert McCann was a handsome, sweet, lovely man. I discovered later that he'd been with his partner, Peter, for 15 years. Robert died three years ago of a heart attack. He was really one of my closest friends, but it all started with lust. My first sexual crush was Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I'm not kidding you.

Christopher Ciccone claims in his recent tell-all that writer-director Guy Ritchie is homophobic. What do you make of that? I read an interview with Guy where he said it's very hard to be a homo phobe if you're married to Madonna, and I think that's true. I know Guy, and he'll sometimes use language which is supposedly un-P.C.-like, he'll say "poof"--but at the same time, he himself is not un-P.C.

As the only female on the RocknRolla set, did you suffer from testosterone overload? You see Gerard Butler with those fierce eyes, and there's lots of aggression, but these are actors. To be an actor you have to be in touch with your feminine side. So I was actually surrounded by sweet, talkative, emotionally available men, which is very surprising. I felt like I wielded the most power.

Especially in Stella's heels. Oh, didn't you love them? Who doesn't love Christian Louboutin? But wait till you see me as Condoleezza Rice, my darling. She takes such care over her appearance, it's just delicious. She clearly has a wardrobe fetish.

Were the fake teeth you wear in W a pain? No, I loved them. I intend to wield them out whenever it's appropriate.

Is Condi's sexual orientation addressed in the film? Do we see her gal pal Randy Bean or gay friend Colt Blacker? No, because the movie isn't about Condoleezza; it's about Bush, so it only addresses whatever pertains to that. I personally don't feel Condoleezza is a gay woman. I think the fact that she isn't in a relationship is partly because of her disciplined nature.

Have you ever experimented with a woman? Yes, I had my rite of passage. I was 16, and I wasn't really in control of the situation, if you know what I mean. I could've easily fallen in love with a woman over a man. My husband O1 [Parker] is kind of a man-woman. Look, I once loved Tim Curry, so there you go.

To which women are you most attracted? I regularly have girl-crushes on mums of other kids. I actually stalked one woman whose kid is one of my daughter's closest friends. Solange Azagury-Partridge, a fantastic jeweler in London, is one of my girl-crushes right now, and she knows it.

Do you ever imagine what your life might've been like if you'd stayed with former boyfriend Brad Pitt? [Laughs] You are so naughty! Oh, my Lord. No, I do not. But I very much hope to achieve the same number of children in my life. I'm going to start competing with my alter ego that got left behind. [Laughs] You've perked me right up! You're my ibuprofen.

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Title Annotation:BIG GAY FOLLOWING
Author:Voss, Brandon
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 21, 2008
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