Monday, April 2, 2012

Period Drama Actor: Matthew Macfadyen

Matthew Macfadyen (heretofore to be referred to as MM) is a hugely talented British actor well known for his many roles in period dramas on TV and the big screen. 

He was born David Matthew Macfadyen on October 17th, 1974 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. 
During his childhood his family lived in England, Scotland and Indonesia where his father worked for a period of time. His mother is a drama teacher and former actress. He was accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at age 17 and studied there from 1992 to 1995. He did stage work for a few years before being cast in the BBC's 1998 production of Wuthering Heights. Since that time he has appeared in numerous TV show, miniseries and film. He's also added his distinctive voice to documentaries, radio plays and audio books.

Let's take a look at his period drama roles:

Wuthering Heights (TV 1998) as Hareton Earnshaw
MM's first onscreen role. Not a favorite film or story but MM is in the interesting ending part of the story.

The Way We Live Now (TV 2001) as Sir Felix Carbury
This is one of his few scoundrel roles and he plays it so convincingly but it's hard to dislike the character completely because it's MM! :)

Pride & Prejudice (2005) as Mr. Darcy
Not quite my favorite Mr. Darcy but he's one of the best parts about this P&P interpretation. He had a different approach to Mr. Darcy portraying him as a bit shy and not as confident as other Darcys. 

As a police inspector he collaborates with Miss Marple in solving a series of murders and is more considerate than most chief investigating officers. A completely likable character if only they hadn't given him that crazy mustache.

Little Dorrit (TV 2008) as Arthur Clennam
My favorite of MM's role! Kind, honorable, generous and very sweet, Arthur Clennam is one of my all-time favorite period drama and literary heroes. His portrayal is just brilliant!

Robin Hood (2010) as Sheriff of Nottingham
I haven't seen this film yet but it's a very interesting casting. MM as a villainous Medieval Sheriff? Well he certainly can play almost any character he puts his mind to. Since I'm such a big Robin Hood fan now I hope to see this sometime soon. 

Another film I haven't seen but the ancient time period is quite interesting. He plays a church prior.

I recently saw this film and am hoping to review it soon. I found MM's character to be more of a leader of the group, a great swordsman, a romantic lead and he has several hilarious lines! Despite the longer mane and facial hair (a look I'm not too fond of on him) it was a great role for him.

Anna Karenina (in production) as Oblonsky
Currently filming Anna Karenina where he's act alongside Keira Knightley again. Looks like he'll be sporting a full beard in this film but I haven't found any photos of him yet (the one photo is Jude Law with Keira). The story isn't very interesting to me but the cast is.

Random Facts about MM:
--Married to lovely actress Keeley Hawes since 2004. (Read my post about Keeley here.)
--They have three children: Myles, Maggie and Ralph.
--Is 6 feet, 3inches tall.
--Mother of Welsh heritage, father of Scottish.
--Awarded a BAFTA in June 2010.
--Is apparently allergic to cats. :(

MM's wife Keeley & kids visit him on the set of Little Dorrit in 2008. 

MM Quotes:
'Like, the actor in me would always like to be more dashing, or slimmer, or have nicer hair. You know what I mean? I see pictures of Colin Firth and think, "That’s Darcy." I see my big face and my funny hair and I think, "Pudding head!"'

[on approaching the character of Mr. Darcy for Pride and Prejudice:] "I find Darcy very sympathetic, I find it heartbreaking that he's seen as very haughty and proud - and he is those things - but he's a young man who is still grieving for his parents. He's from an ancient family and has this huge responsibility, but it seemed to me that he's still trying to work out who he is and how to be in the world. I found that very interesting, and I found him very sympathetic."

"I have felt some twinges recently, about parts I wanted to play that I may be getting too old and fat to do. Hamlet, for example – maybe that’s gone. I would love to play Richard II." - from a February 2010 interview

Didn't make this but love it! haha :)

Matthew Macfadyen is one of my all time favorite actors and who I hope to see in many other period drama roles. 

Which of MM's roles is your favorite?
Which of his roles do you most want to seen?


Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Laurie,
I love MM too and especially in his role in Little Dorrit. Pride and Prejudice still is Colin Firth for me as Mr. Darcy.
I love MM in Pillars of the Earth too. It's also a series that is critical towards all kind of things in that time period, so not a very romantic series, but very good and interesting.
Thank you so much for sharing this info about this great actor !!
Have a splendid day.

Lydia said...

i love Matthew Macfadyen! i love him in P&P! i did not know he was in Robin Hood! and i love that movie! also did not know he was in the 3 Musketeers! i really want to watch that movie! would also like to see "Little Dorrit" and i need to see "Wuthering Heights"

Charity U said...

The Way We Live Now...he sure looks interesting in that!

You meant P&P 2005 not 2000, I think... :)

Haha, love that moustache in Marple! LOL!

Little Dorrit, liked him.

Wanna see Robin Hood...he looks totally unlike Mr. Darcy! Same for Three Musketeers. :)

Fun post!

Mary Beth said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I had no idea he was married to Keeley Hawes. I agree. His best role was in Little Dorrit!! And I agree about that ridiculous mustache he had in Marple: Pocket Full of Rye! I don't care much for mustaches. I love that last picture of him with Keeley and his children on the set of Little Dorrit. :) And his first quote ..."Pudding head"!! Haha. Matthew Macfadyen is great. I'm eager to read your review of The Three Musketeers as I've been wanting to watch it. Thanks for posting about MM. :D

Eva said...

I love MM's portrayal of Mr. Darcy...He's the best!

I'm currently watching LD right now and I love seeing him as Arthur. He's such a gentleman.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Next to Russell Crowe, Matthew MacFadyen is my favorite actor ever! I love him as Darcy, adore him as Arthur Clennam, and thinks he plays such a great slimy scoundrel in Robin Hood. =) I personally think his hair in P&P and Little Dorrit rocks, as does his hats. =) And he and Keeley Hawes are such a cute couple!! =)

birdienl said...

Lovely post! I did watch Pillars of the Earth and MM is one of the absolute highlights of this series. He plays the kind and brave prior so well!

Jessica said...

I didn't know he was married to Keeley Hawes! That's really a neat fact. ;-)

Anonymous said...

First off, amazing post...ever since watching Little Dorrit, I have been in LOVE with Matthew MacFadyen.

I just wanted to mention that he was also in a TV movie on the life of Enid Blyton,(portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter), simply titled Enid; he plays her first husband Hugh Pollock who was also her publisher before she divorces him for an older man with a hearing aid, and destroys his life. It's a rather unpleasant and depressing movie, but the acting is great :)

God Bless
Elizabeth Rose (alias)

valouty said...

Très bel homme j ai adoré matthew macfadyen mr darcy
absolument magnifiques le désir , l amour se vois dans ces yeux ce que j aimerai être actrice dans ces moments la!
Un jeu de rôle à la mesure de l homme qui me fait rever
merci matthew macfadyen Merci

zoemahmud said...

dear miss laurie, ever since i saw p&p with matthew in it, it has become my all time favourite romantic movie.i've not see much of his other movies as they have not been shown on our malaysian tv. i had to pester my husband to download his movies n other than p&p i managed to see the one where he is lord felix. i think he is a brilliant period actor with old school charm n sensibilities. his voice is especially charismatic to complement his expressive face n lovely eyes. what can i say i am charmed! thx for featuring him in your blog. have a good day!

Mal said...

Aww....he looks so sweet with his wife and kid!!!! Some people say that he is NOT Mr. Darcy, but he is to me :) I think it's weird how different he can look at different times.... You can especially tell that in the pictures, but I've noticed that he can look very different in different scenes of P&P :)
LOVE these post! You hit to of my favorite actors - Richard Armitage and MM!
-mal :)

Unknown said...

Dear miss Laurie:
Lovely post!!! I love MM!!!!!
I absolutely agree with you in everything: Not my favorite Mr. Darcy, saw Wuthering Heights only because of him; and my favorite role of MM was Arthur Clennam.
In fact... Im in love with Matthew MacFadyen since Little Dorrit. Arthur Clennam, Fitzwilliam Darcy (the Colin version) and John Thornton, are my three favorite characters of period drama, I can not decide on one.
Very good post really enjoyed it!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Laurie:

I love MM in P&P, he is an amazing actor. I have watched Wuthering Heights, but have not seen any others. I will be looking forward to seen those movies. I have watched P&P many many times, I absolutely love MM as Mr. Darcy, I totally feel he is the best Mr. Darcy.

Anonymous said...

Matthew Macfadyen grapped me since I saw him first. He is magnetic. A brilliant, intelligent actor!
And he is really hot! ;-)

Unknown said...

love him, love the new movie and have said it's my fave of all time quite often. MM is awesome and the scenes in the new P&P movie are out of this world romantic and beautiful!

Unknown said...

Pudding head? He can be my desert any time!

Unknown said...

I love everything MM does. MM is brilliant and sure does shine

Anonymous said...

I just saw PP very recently while on a plane. I never had a chance to see it before. I fell in love with MM and with Mr Darcy and PP. I didn't know there's Colin Firth version of PP i think i need to watch that too. Thanks for the lovely post.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is lovely. These types of performances suit him perfectly. Not quite sure if you would welcome comments on television period pieces as well, but Ripper Street is my ultimate. Certainly, it can not be classified as romantic in the least, but the character of Edmund Reid portrayed by MM is a complex, quite an endearing man in his own way and very much to my taste. Perhaps I'm probably one of the few that prefer MM more on his "heavy" side (re: Season I). I TOO would have his "pudding head"!... ;) Syl.

Unknown said...

Have loved Matthew ever since Little Dorrit. Such a sweet character played by a sweet person. All the best success to him and his lovely family!

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