Plucked from a crowd in a British bar by a talent scout at a Derek Jarman wrap party, androgynous dressmaker Jaye Davidson was cast in the pivotal role of the transgender Dil in Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game (1992).
The character’s “big secret” left an indelible impression on surprised audiences and has since become one of the most talked about movie twists that we’ve just spoiled. (C’mon, it’s been out for almost 30 years, and the fact that Davidson was Oscar-nominated for Best Supporting Actor, not Actress, gave the game away at the time.)
Highly uncomfortable with the fame and attention that followed, the shy Davidson vowed to never act again. So when he was offered the role of alien god Ra in Roland Emmerich’s Stargate (1994), he demanded an unreasonable fee of $1 million to do it, which backfired when it was accepted.
It was indeed great casting, but following Stargate and a telemovie called Jiggery Pokery, Davidson turned his back on acting and promptly vanished back into the world of high fashion.
Despite having made only two movies, there’s no denying he had considerable screen presence, and both The Crying Game and Stargate would have been less effective without him.