He’s not as popular as I would like him to be, but for the people familiar with British television, film and theater, Matthew Macfadyen is a well known name.
When I have to explain to people who Matthew is, I always refer to his ‘Mr. Darcy’ in Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation of the Jane Austen classic ‘Pride and Prejudice’ opposite Keira Knightley.
I have to state something off the bat here, in the fandom world there are two clear camps when it comes to Mr. Darcy, the Colin Firth (‘The King’s Speech’) camp and the Matthew Macfadyen camp. I am in team Matthew! Just look at him…
Colin Firth was Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of the novel aired back in 1995 alongside Jennifer Ehle. As I stated, fans are very possessive of their favorite Darcy, something I don’t expect to change ever. We have good arguments on both sides, no one denies that Firth is a brilliant actor, as he proved in The King’s Speech. Personally though, he just didn’t do it for me as Darcy, sorry.
Matthew Macfadyen on the other hand, completely had my attention, from the get go. I could not stop watching him, he was mesmerizing to me. I had never seen him before and sadly, I did not see the movie in the theater. After watching Pride and Prejudice, I had to find out who he was, what his name was, how come I had never seen him before!
And the rest is history as they say. I researched his other projects, at first I remember being shocked at seeing him with short hair in MI-5/Spooks, the spy television show. I did not know how to feel about that. I liked his Mr. Darcy looks, with longer hair.
I have moved past that. Matthew Macfadyen is one of the most versatile actors I have seen, he goes from role to role with such aplomb and ease. He has stated that he does not want to be typecast and I think he makes a point in doing just that.
He can go from playing a rake in ‘Any Human Heart’ to a Prior in ‘The Pillars of The Earth’, to another classic literary character, ‘Athos’ in ‘The Three Musketeers’ and play them all brilliantly. No matter what kind of reviews his films get, I have rarely seen a bad review on his individual performances, maybe never.
Matthew steals the scenes he’s in, no matter who plays opposite him, he adapts and does so seamlessly. He is truly a pleasure to watch, even if his hair is not to one’s liking!
Currently Matthew Macfadyen stars in ‘Anna Karenina’ another Joe Wright production, opposite his co-star from Pride and Prejudice, Keira Knightley, now showing in theaters and ‘Ripper Street’ a new BBC crime drama based on events that followed the Jack the Ripper murders in 19th Century London, which premieres in the US on January 19th on BBC America.
For a complete filmography on Matthew Macfadyen you can visit his IMDB page.