Matthew Macfadyen: An Improbably Romantic Hero (Oct 2011)

Luce found an interview in Spanish, where Matthew Macfadyen discusses being Mr Darcy, the movie The Three Musketeers, and his upcoming role in Joe Wright's version of Anna Karenina.

You can view the original interview in Spanish HERE.

The google translation is not very good, but I've attempted to clean it up and posted it below.


Matthew Macfadyen, the unlikely romantic hero

07:00 h | Fernando de Luis-Orueta

Briton Matthew Macfadyen, Athos, brings to life the umpteenth version of 'The Three Musketeers', which opened in theaters yesterday with an abundance of visual effects and 3D zeppelins. But first was the best Mr. Darcy of "Pride and Prejudice 'and Prior Philip of 'The Pillars of the Earth'.

It was hard to imagine that director Joe Wright chose such a guy to give life to Mr. Darcy, the romantic hero par excellence, who stars in Pride and Prejudice. But he did: Matthew Macfadyen (Great Yarmouth, England, 1974), with his sad eyes and good-natured behaviour, became one of the best leading men of the movies recently. And will be again soon, working with the same director and facing the same woman, Keira Knightley, in a new version of Anna Karenina.

Among his other roles he has starred in many adaptations of famous novels on television such as Little Dorrit, by Dickens , or The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. And now comes to theaters with more adventure classic among classics: The Three Musketeers by Dumas, with a three-dimensional display allows many licenses with regard to the novel. 

Is this new version of The Three Musketeers a romance, an adventure film or an action? 
It is rather an action movie, although it has many elements: great battles and airships, but also the love story, political intrigue and everything else. When I read the script I thought, 'This is ridiculous.' But then I realized it was also very entertaining. I hope it will interest many different people. 

What is Mr. Darcy thinking of in the midst of this 3D fantasy? 
Well, actually not so different. To film The Three Musketeers we had fencing classes and we got some fantastic costumes ... Almost all actors would like to be in a Musketeers film. It's almost like being in a western, it's something you've always dreamed of: a duel of swordsmanship.

I've seen many period films. In fact, in the United Kingdom there are many adaptations of classics every year ...
It's because these are great stories. On the other hand, how many adaptations of Emma are needed? In recent years there have been about five. While it is true that the novels of Dickens or Jane Austen are suitable for adaptation in several chapters on television ... What works best in film is to shrink the story so that ultimately you only get a general impression, which only serves to anger the fans of the book. 

And that is particularly challenging for the actors. As in your case, you put a face, body and voice to Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, the romantic hero par excellence. 
Yes, it was very weird ... well just before it had been done by Colin Firth in the BBC series. But I thought it was like you have to play Hamlet or Uncle Vanya, there are so many people who have played before you. So I jumped at it without giving more thought.

Joe Wright was the director of that film and now you return to work with him on a new version of Anna Karenina. 
Indeed, hence the beard. We start shooting immediately. We've been rehearsing, many dance rehearsals. We have a wonderful cast, Tom Stoppard's script is great and Joe has some fantastic ideas on how to stage it, they are not exactly conventional. 

You've had a very interesting time in theater , first at the Royal Shakespeare Company, later with Nicholas Hytner and in Declan Donnellan's Cheek by Jowl company.
Working with Declan in Cheek by Jowl is an experience that changes your life because not only is he wonderful director but also an excellent teacher. But right now what I remember most is travel: I did two world tours, with Cheek by Jowl and the other with the Royal Shakespeare. I was very young and it was a fantastic experience but not one I think I could repeat now that I have three children. 

Does being a parent influence the roles you choose to play? 
Yes, a little, yes. I have to think hard if I am offered something where I have to go away, for example, New Zealand. I don't want to miss watching them grow.