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Matthew Macfadyen on Darcy and P&P

The last blog entry was about Keira Knightley talking about her iconic Elizabeth Bennet role. This time, it's the handsome Matthew Macfadyen talking about his iconic Darcy role, P&P, and more!

First from the article:

Mr. Darcy, next generation
By Sarah Lyall
The New York Times

"I don't feel like a romantic lead; I guess I feel more like a character actor," MacFadyen confessed recently. Dressed down for an interview in jeans and a sweatshirt, he lived up to his advance billing as the epitome of non-starry casualness.
"I don't look like Mr. Darcy in my head," he went on. "If I could paint Darcy, he would be dishier, darker-haired than I am."

"I found it heartbreaking and sympathetic," he went on, speaking of Mr. Darcy's emotional fragility. "He's a young man who doesn't know who he is yet. Even though he's 28 and comes from this ancient family and has a huge estate, he has that adolescent quality of taking himself very seriously and being very passionate. I don't see him not caring about anybody. I think he cares very deeply. He's just locked up."

"Everyone goes, 'How did you prepare for the role, how did you approach it?"' MacFadyen said. "Well, you turn up, learn your lines, grow some sideburns, play the scene and go home. I got on with it. It really is as simple as that. You have to think about it and everything, but you can't describe your own workings out or thinkings or wonderings."

Read full article here.

From Boston Herald (unfortunately, the link no longer works):

Austen’s power: ’Pride & Prejudice’ role could make Matthew MacFadyen a star
By Stephen Schaefer
Thursday, November 10, 2005

Although MacFadyen swears he’s never seen any of version of ”Pride & Prejudice,” he knew about Darcy.
”He’s the guy who’s sort of the quintessential strong, silent person you don’t like, the arrogant one who turns out to be good,” he said.

As for creating combustible chemistry with Knightley, MacFadyen is modest to a fault.

”I’ve got this theory: I think chemistry is nonsense, really,” he said. ”If you’re acting the scene well, then there’s chemistry. But if you’re not, then there isn’t. Maybe I’m wrong.”

From an Indie London article:

Q. Presumably such great costumes and locations helped in terms of preparation and performance?
The costumes are great because they kind of tell you how to move, how to walk. You can’t sit in britches like I’m sitting in now, for instance. [Well you could, but it would be quite uncomfortable].
And being in the locations themselves is great, it’s less of a leap of the imagination if you’re standing on the balcony at Chatsworth than if you’re in an aircraft hangar somewhere.
Q. How did you go about approaching the character of Darcy?
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.
Q. Did you go back to novel?
I hadn’t read the novel before we shot the film. He is based on the script.
Q. Do you think modern viewers will view Darcy differently?
Maybe. I think Darcy is a young man who is given this huge responsibility and that can be experienced by young men now. The shock of Lydia eloping with Wickham, at the age of 15, is as shocking to us now as I’m sure it was then. I don’t think it’s changed that much.
Matthew Macfadyen: I think looking at it now, Darcy would seem much more snobbish in our understanding of the word than he would then. To somebody like Darcy, it would have been a big deal for him to get over this difference in their status, and to be able to say to Lizzie that he loved her. We would think it was incredibly snobbish and elitist, but it wasn’t for him. It would have been a big admission, and he would have found it very vulgar. It’s a bigger divide than it would have been then is what I’m saying.
Q. Do you think that's because that sense of duty is alien to us now but not then?
Q. Are you conscious of the Darcy effect, given the iconic place he holds in literature and, of course, the effect it had on Colin Firth's career?
I don’t know, I don’t know what to expect.

Q. When taking on a role like this, do you feel a responsibility to a classic?
I sort of approached Darcy as I would any other part. You’d never play Hamlet, for example, if you started worrying about who’s played it before you. The same with a lot of parts. That’s the nature of it, you just get on with it. It’s a wonderful part.

Q. You inject a lot of humour into the character of Darcy. Was it a fine line making sure that the balance was just right?
I don’t know. Looking back I can’t remember, I can’t analyse it like that. There is something of the ridiculous in Darcy because he thinks very deeply and seriously about things, and he takes himself very seriously. As young men tend to do I suppose. So there is a bit of darkness, which Lizzie punctures so cleverly. I just had a bash and hoped for the best.

Q. How was the horse-riding?
There wasn’t that much horse riding!

Macfadyen: Obviously I’m brilliant at riding horses, I was born in the saddle. [laughs]
Q. Did you get to keep the bust of Darcy?
I’m waiting to be offered it. I don’t know where it is.

Q. Did it seem like Joe’s first feature to the cast?
Not at all.
Macfadyen: Joe is an actor’s director. There are plenty of directors who aren’t that interested, but Joe likes actors I think, he’s interested in the process of it. So it was a treat, it really was.

Read the full article here (with director Joe Wright, co-stars Brenda Blethyn, and Rosamund Pike in the mix).



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