Best In Show: Matthew Macfadyen (Feb 2007)

Best In Show: Matthew Macfadyen

by Ellen E Jones (Esquire, Feb 2007)

As awards season approaches with BAFTA, we size up the pick of an exceptional crop of British acting talents

Making Keira Knightley swoon as Mr Darcy in 2005's 'Pride and Prejudice' was fun, of course, but Matthew Macfadyen needs bigger challenges. This year, he's casting his frock coat aside to play a predatory paedophile in Channel 4 drama 'Secret Life', a religious zealot in 'Middletown' (out this spring) and a bereaved son in the Frank Oz-directed 'Death at a Funeral'.

ON POWER: "I think if you can be canny it's worthwhile trying to be, but sometimes you find myself sitting on your arse for four months and then you start panicking. And then the parts you really want,
you don't get, because Leonardo DiCaprio's doing it, obviously. Because of Pride and Prejudice I get more scripts, but I don't feel more powerful. Actors are just beggars, really. Even if you're really hot, you've still got to jump through hoops for people, but that's kind of OK. I quite like that. There's an element of being a gun for hire."

ON FAME: "Sometimes you sound terribly pompous when you say things like this, but I don't want to see actors I really admire in Heat doing their shopping. You go and see a play and the curtain comes down, there's a line between actor and audience and I like that. If you've been on telly once, you can go to all the parties and that's fine, but it doesn't really matter what actors think about abortion or the war in Iraq."

ON MENTORS: ''l've worked with Michael Gambon twice. He's great fun and I admire him, but he doesn't give me acting advice. He's just like an old tramp, but he's got a great soul. He's kind of big and silly and dangerous all at the same time."


*transcribed by Matthieu