Matthew interview: Hello magazine (Oct 2008)

Thanks to JaneV from the forum for scanning the interview and photos of Matthew from this week's Hello magazine. It can be read in the galleries.

Star of a new adaptation of Little Dorrit. Matthew Macfadyen on costumes... and Keeley

by Rachel Corcoran (Hello!, 28 october 2008)

It’s a wonder Matthew Macfadyen and his wife Keeley Hawes ever get to see each other - let alone their three children - with all the starring roles they’ve had this year. Keeley has dominated our screens in Ashes to Ashes (she is currently filming the second series) and Mutual Friends, and now is Matthew’s turn to shine in the BBC’s latest Dickens adaptation, Little Dorrit.

He plays the lead role of Arthur Clennam in the 14-part drama, and since the long filming schedule finished just a few weeks ago, Matthew, 34, is relishing a couple of months off so he can have time with the children.

“I was filming Little Dorrit for 20 weeks, a part of a three-week break, when a lot of the cast went on location to Venice ”says Matthew. He lives in London with Keeley, 32, and her son from her first marriage, Myles,8 and their own children Maggie, three,and Ralph, two.” But now, I don’t have anything lined up until Christmas. It’s lovely to be at home because you don’t get to see the kids very much when you’re filming ” he explains.”Keeley isn’t getting to spend much time with them at the moment. And it’s impossible to go on holiday !”

Matthew and Keeley’s relationship started when they worked on BBC1’s Spooks six years ago, and they married in 2004. Now, he has a young family. Matthew is less prepared to travel the globe for roles. Nor does he want to move to Hollywood.

“My family is a factor when I pick jobs, which it wasn’t before. I’m not about to go off for a year in Australia without some serious thought because, I’ll miss a year of their lives.There are so many good roles over here, though.There’s nothing glamorous about Hollywood. If you’re lucky enough to be able to work here, work here.Then if movie people want to employ you they will.

Little Dorrit instantly appealed to Matthew, who will appear in Miss Marple, A pocketful of rye early next year. Although he’s starred in several period dramas, such as his TV breakthrough in the 1998 TV adaptation of Wuthering Heights, and playing Mister Darcy in 2005’s film version of Pride & Prejudice opposite Keira Knightley, he claims it’s a good story and cast list that attracts him to a part rather than the prospect of wearing period costume.

“You don’t think, 'I’m doing a period drama,' you think 'I’m doing a story.' I love good stories and I seem to end up with certain parts. But this country has a such tradition of fantastic literature that there’s bound to be more of those roles cropping up.

“The sets and costumes for Little Dorrit are fantastic, though,” he continues. “You're self-conscious as an actor, anyway, especially if you're wearing clothes you’d never normally wear. But when they’re made so beautifully it helps to get in to character. It was an amasing cast too. I’m very lucky.”

The cast certainly boasts a broad mix of stars, from Tom Courtenay, Andy Serkis and Amanda Redman to some of Britain’s hottest young talent including Ruth Jones, Freema Agyeman and newcommer Claire Foy, who plays the title role.

However, there’s one co-star he favours over all others - his wife. They have work together a couple of times since Spooks, and Matthew doesn’t rule out that happening again.

“It’s great working with Keeley. You think it’s going to be weird but it’s lovely.The only problem is that everyone knows when you are having a row! But we met on set so we like working together.”

Will they be sitting down to watch Little Dorrit as a family this week? “We don’t really watch that much telly,” Matthew laughs. “Myles understands what we do but the younger two don’t.They're more interested by Bob the Builder. Keeley’s done those CBeebies stories but they’re not as interested as you’d think they’d be.”

So does he hope his children will follow in his and Keeley’s famous footsteps? “That seems so far away,” he responds. “They might be marine biologists. I hope so anyway!”

Little Dorrit begins on BBC1 on 26 october at 8 pm and continues on 30 October at 8.30pm

*transcript by Matthieu