'MI-5' star wants to break the mold of 'serious' roles (Sep 2003)

Matthew Macfadyen

'MI-5' star wants to break the mold of 'serious' roles

By Lisa Blake | Sep 1, 2003 | 336 words, 0 images Variety Magazine

    Matthew Macfadyen can't get out of town fast enough. He has a hit TV series; A&E's "MI-5," a beautiful girlfriend, co-star Keeley Hawes; and a newly purchased home along the Thames in Twickenham.

    All good, he admits. But what really brings a smile to his face is the realization that in a few days he will be leaving it all behind.

    "Your senses get dull doing a long-running TV show," the actor admits. "I can feel my skills getting a bit saggy and I just know it's from too much series work. For me, at least, it's imperative that I mix things up."

    The role that will preserve Macfadyen's creative mojo is "In My Father's Den," which is shooting in New Zealand. He's playing a war correspondent who returns home when his father dies.

    "It's another serious part," explains Macfadyen. "But the script is well written so I'm eager to get started. As an actor I'm happy to have a well-drawn role to play. I just think it's a bit funny how because of the TV series I keep getting cast as these very serious blokes when in fact I'm a big clown and I relish doing comedy. I'm quite good at playing pathetic."

    The jovial Macfadyen, who did three world tours with the Royal Shakespeare Co., is not worried that he will become typecast.

    "There is a certain gladiatorial aspect to being an actor, it's that fierce all-or-nothing intensity that gives you credibility in any role. That's the difference between being a movie star and an actor. I'm very much an actor."

    The turning point: As Pvt. Alan James, "Warriors" (1999)

    Upcoming projects: "In My Father's Den"

    Principal form of training: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

    Actor who most inspires: "It's probably cliche but I worship Lawrence Olivier."

    Acting mantra: "Where's my cigies?"

    Consideration in choosing a role: "Does it give me butterflies?"

    Representation: No manager, in the UK Evans and Reiss