Biography

Matthew Macfadyen Biography & Statistics

 

Name: David Matthew Macfadyen

Born: 17 October, 1974 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England

Home: London, England

Education: Oakham School in Rutland, Leicestershire (1985 to 92); RADA (1992-July 95)

Hair Colour: Brown

Eye Colour: Blue/Green

Height: 6' 2.8" (1.90 m)

Wife: Actress Keeley Hawes (since November 2004)

Children: Son Ralph (2006), Daughter Maggie Liberty (2004), stepson Myles.

Family: Mother was an actress and trained drama teacher and he has a younger brother Jamie.

Agent: Hamilton Hodell

Voiceover agency: Earache

Matthew Macfadyen is a British actor, best known for his roles as MI5 agent Tom Quinn in the BBC television drama series Spooks / MI5 and Mr Darcy in the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

 

After having studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts from 1992 to 1995, Matthew quickly became a well-known actor on the British stage, due primarily to his excellent work with the stage company Cheek by Jowl, for whom he played Antonio in The Duchess of Malfi (1995), Charles Surface in The School for Scandal (1998), and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (1998). His Benedick was particularly memorable, played as an officer-class buffoon with a moustache and a braying laugh, while his Charles Surface was played mostly in a horizontal position.

 

In 1998 he was nominated for the RSC Ian Charleston award for “best classical actor under 30”

 

Matthews major TV breakthrough came when he co-starred as Hareton in a television adaptation of Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights (1998) screened on the ITV network. More television drama work followed, including starring roles in the award winning drama Warriors (1999) and The Way We Live Now (2001), both for the BBC. He earned much critical acclaim for his starring role in the prestige BBC drama serial Perfect Strangers (2001), which was written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff.

 

In 2002 he acquired a higher yet profile , when he was picked to star in Spooks (2002-04), which went on to become a huge popular and critical success when screen on BBC One. A longer second season was screened in 2003, and Matthew left during the third series, aired in the autumn of 2004. The series found a following on cable television in the United States, where it has aired as MI5 on the A&E Network as well as BBC America.

 

Between series of Spooks, Matthew starred in the fact based BBC TV drama The Project (2003), charted New Labour’s rise to power and the landslide victory of 1997. Matthew portrayed idealistic Labour Special Advisor Paul Tibbenham.

 

Matthew has also developed his film career, appearing in a number of big screen productions, including Enigma (2001), in which he was memorably cast as a battle-scarred submarine commander. In My Fathers Den (2004), made in New Zealand and directed by Brad McGann, garnered Matthew critical acclaim for his portrayal of world weary war photographer Paul Prior. Pride and Prejudice (2005) directed by Joe Wright and co-starring Kiera Knightley in an oscar nominated role as Elizabeth Bennet, earned him world wide recognition and a lot of new fans as the brooding Mr Darcy.

 

After Pride and Prejudice, in 2005, Matthew returned to the stage at the National Theatre as Prince Hal in Henry IV Parts 1 & 2. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, the stage production gave Matthew a chance to work again alongside his boyhood hero and Perfect Strangers co-star, Sir Michael Gambon who played Falstaff.

 

Matthew starred in Middletown (2006) filmed in Northern Ireland. It is a small independent film directed by Brian Kirk, in which Matthew plays over zealous priest Gabriel Hunter. It was released in Ireland in November 2006. Next, he filmed Death At A Funeral (2007). Death at a Funeral is a comedy directed by Frank Oz where Matthews character Daniel is the sane centre of increasingly farcical events surrounding a family funeral. Interestingly, Matthew had the opportunity to work, again, with his wife, Keeley Hawes, who starred as his wife in the movie, also. Death at a Funeral was released in the United States in August 2007.

 

He appeared in a television movie called Secret Life (2007) which deals with the controversial subject of paedophilia. It started filming in October 2006 and appeared on UK Channel 4 on 19 April, 2007. Matthew received critical acclaim for his portrayal winning a 2007 Best Actor award by the Royal Television Society and a nomination for Best Actor by BAFTA, as well.

 

Matthew filmed Incendiary (2008), based on the novel by Chris Cleave. Matthew acts as Terence Butcher, a senior anti-terrorist police officer. The movie centers around a woman whose family are killed at the bombing of a soccer match. Co-stars include Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams. The movie was released cinematically in the UK in October 2008.

 

He returned to the theatre, one of his favorite acting modalities, in June-August 2007. He appeared at London's Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs in The Pain And The Itch, playing the role of Clay, a stay-at-home father in this satire of liberal values. The play was so successful, it was extended two weeks. Less than one week after the play closed, Matthew travelled to the United States in preparation for filming Frost/Nixon (2008) which is directed by Ron Howard. The movie is based on the play by the same name and is a dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon. Matthew played the role of John Birt, a producer for Frost. The movie was released in December 2008 and received various awards, including 5 Oscar nominations.

 

Matthew's wife, Keeley Hawes is starring in her own television series, Ashes to Ashes, which is the sequel to the highly successful series Life on Mars. Matthew played a guest starring role in the first series, Episode 7, which aired on BBC on 19 March 2008. He played a charity fundraiser with a Brummie accent, suffering from OCD who wore a mullet, a mustache, and enjoyed spending his free time in a tub full of beans. Many viewers didn't recognize Matthew in his wig, but reviews claimed his role was comedic, horrific and sympathetic.  Matthew landed the role of Inspector Neele, in the Agatha Christie adaptation of "A Pocket Full of Rye (2008)", with Miss Marple as the detective. Filming began at the end of February 2008 and aired first on Irish television in November 2008,  was shown in the UK in 2009 on ITV and as a part of PBS' Masterpiece Mystery in the summer of 2009.  Matthew began filming the hero of Charles Dickens' classic, Little Dorrit (2008), in April 2008. Matthew played Arthur Clenham, a middle aged man for whom Little Dorrit feels tremendous passion. Little Dorrit appeared on BBC as a 14 part serial beginning in October 2008. Matthew was again nominated for Best Actor by the RTS.  Little Dorrit received 7 Emmys in 2009, including Outstanding director, Writer and Mini-series.

 

Originally, in January 2009, Matthew was scheduled to play Fielding in an ITV grand production of E. M. Forster's A Passage to India. However, given the world-wide recession, the whole project was cancelled just 2 weeks before filming was to begin in India. Instead in March 2009, Matthew began a different project; a biopic of famed children's author Enid Blyton (2009), also starring Helena Bonham Carter in the title role. The drama focuses on the bestselling author's troubled private life – which failed to resemble the jolly plots of her books. This included her divorce from her first husband and how she suffered from the rows and the break-up of her parents. Matthew plays the dramatic role of Blyton's first husband, Major Hugh Pollack.  The drama is expected to be shown late 2009.  Matthew joined Russell Crowe's Robin Hood (2010) as the Sheriff of Nottingham.  He plays Maxine Peak's barrister husband in Criminal Justice II (2009) for the BBC airing in October 2009. The entire latter half of 2009 was spent filming in Hungary and Austria for the Ken Follet best-seller-turned-into-a-mini-series, The Pillars of the Earth (2010). Matthew leads the mini-series as Prior Philip, a man driven to build a grand cathedral.

 

Matthew returned to his love of the stage when he teamed with Kim Cattrall to star in Noel Coward's Private Lives. With only 4 weeks of rehearsal, Private Lives first opened a 10 day stretch in February at Bath's Theatre Royal before moving on to the Vaudeville Theatre in London. The chemistry between Matthew and Kim sizzled, with a fight scene in Act 2 that had audiences gasping. Matthew follows up with Colin Firth in The Promised Land (2011), playing a British police officer. He also will star in Channel 4's Any Human Heart (2011), a novel by William Boyd.

 

For full details of Matthews filmography and further links please see the website menu.