"Some would say, `He’s arrogant’; I would say, he’s misunderstood. And a fantastic part to play!" (Matthew Macfadyen about his Mr. Darcy role)
Matthew Macfadyen admits Austen’s deft satire and classic caricatures offered a little levity. So, too, did shooting the film. The reality of the sweeping, tear-inspiring climactic scene, when Darcy does his best Byronic stride across a misty field toward his true love Lizzie, was anything but romantic gravitas, he says. “I’m shortsighted, so I couldn’t see Keira and the director was waving his red jacket, screaming, `Left! Turn left.´
“Darcy achieved iconic status thanks to Mr. Colin Firth. So it was daunting in that respect. But I understood who Darcy was and I sympathized with him. It makes your job easier when you get a part that is so well-written.”
“I can confirm that there is no wet-shirt episode in the upcoming version. My pecs and I will not be seen emerging in a sultry fashion from a lake. I had seen his wet-shirt scene at an awards ceremony, but I hadn’t really registered the impact of it. So I was unprepared for the ‘How are you going to make it different?’ question.”
“It was daunting in that I was aware there was the `Darcy thing,´ and that people are quite proprietarily about Pride & Prejudice as a whole. ‘Why are they making another version?’ ‘How dare they?’ ‘You better not fuck it up!’ They’re really fierce, the Jane-ites. Which is good, because it’s a classic, and it’s much loved. But I hadn’t seen the BBC version, so I didn’t really worry about it. Because you can’t as an actor, otherwise you could never play Hamlet or you could never play Richard III. Actually it was quite flattering to be in such good company. A lot of people asked me how I would be trying to make it different from Colin Firth, which is strange because even if I had seen him, I wouldn’t try, because you couldn’t. You do what you can do.”
Quotes about MM from his P&P director Joe Wright and co-star Keira Knightley...
"First, Matthew's the right age. Second, he's a big strong manly man. I didn't want a pretty boy, boy band kind of boy, I wanted a man, and he's an incredible actor. I've loved his work for many years and I think he is an astonishingly good actor. I know also he is not vain; he's not coming to the role trying to promote himself as a f---ing sex symbol. He's coming as an actor trying to understand who his character is. He's interested in people and I think that's probably why he acts and so for all of those reasons he felt perfect. Also, he is just a big sexy man and when I put him opposite Keira Knightley they were just astonishing together." (Joe Wright)
“I had never seen the TV dramas or the film, so I was able to look for the Darcy I had in my head -- and Matthew Macfadyen was the only one for me. Darcy is 28, and Matthew was 29 when we were shooting. I had no interest in casting just a pretty boy; Darcy is more interesting and complicated than that. He’s a young man who has less than ideal social skills and a huge responsibility. His parents have died and left him with a massive estate and a younger sister to take care of, and my sense is that he has had to grow up too fast. Matthew has incarnated Darcy as that complicated layered person who isn’t easy in his skin and who isn’t easy to love, yet who is a good person with a sense of honor and integrity. Matthew, unlike many actors, is not vain, and so was not afraid to be disliked by an audience at the beginning of the story; we have to dislike him because we are seeing him through Lizzie’s eyes. And we grow to love him as Lizzie does.” (Joe Wright)
“I went in to read with him (the "rain" scene) and I virtually couldn´t get my lines out. I just kept staring at him thinking what the hell happened between you walking in as Matthew and you starting to read because he actually did turned into Darcy.” (Keira Knightley)
"Then I met Matthew and we clicked immediately. I love him because he’s a big guy which is actually quite rare on screen today. Filmmakers tend to go for that slightly more androgynous look these days, which is lovely, but one of the most romantic things in the world is a manly man, particularly when, like Matthew, he’s intensely vulnerable as well. Matthew plays Darcy in a way I’ve never seen before, with huge vulnerability." (Keira Knightley)
“You need to see that kind of rugged beauty in Darcy, to know that here is a man who strides across fields and very much manages his own estate. With Matthew, you can see that etched across his face, yet he’s also got this extraordinary vulnerability.” (Keira Knightley)
Also, from P&P producer Paul Webster...
"The search for Darcy was a long one. We meet everyone, but there was never really any doubt that it would always be our first choice, Matthew Macfadyen." (Paul Webster)
More MM/P&P Tribute videos...
Matthew Macfadyen/Little Dorrit tribute
Matthew Macfadyen tribute (with the song "Bones" by The Killers)
Matthew MacFadyen tribute (with the song "Can't Take My Eyes off You" by Muse)
Pride and Prejudice tribute (and a nice P&P tribute featuring KK as Lizzie & MM as Darcy, of course)
Speaking of the Darcylicious Matthew Macfadyen, I made and compiled a collage of him to show his versatile acting chops and his chameleon faces in various roles he played in his various TV and Film projects from the cute Hareton Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights to a cad Sir Felix Carbury in The Way We Live Now to the iconic Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice to adorable Arthur Clennam in Little Dorrit, to Athos in The Three Musketeers, and Oblonsky (the philandering brother to Keira Knightley's Anna Karenina) in Anna Karenina to name some of his many TV and film work.
In my opinion, Matthew Macfadyen is a very talented, superb, versatile, and an underrated character actor. One of my favorite actors that I'm very glad I discovered almost 11 years ago upon watching him as Mr. Darcy in one of my favorite films of all time, which is Pride & Prejudice. Not many actors can do what he can do. He can get into different characters easily and effortlessly and at the same time still do a great job making his characters believable and unrecognizable that you don't see him as Matthew himself, but the character he plays. He's that good...no, not just good, but an incredible, brilliant character actor that should be in more leading roles and films, but instead wisely chooses his film roles in various TV and film projects that showcased his wide range of acting ability in various roles he had played whether he was playing a good or villain character in either leading or supporting role. He has impressively done it all! That's why he's one of my favorite actors and I loved and enjoyed watching him in most of the TV and films I've seen him in thus far....
He even did some stage plays/theater production work including Private Lives with Kim Catrall in London in April 2010.