Matthew Macfadyen

Matthew Macfadyen


Life Story

David Matthew Macfadyen was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to Meinir (Owen), a drama teacher and actress, and Martin Macfadyen, an oil executive. He is of Scottish and Welsh descent. Because of his father's career, he spent at least part of his childhood in Indonesia, before finishing his education back in England and winning a place at RADA in 1992. He won critical acclaim in the UK with his work with the stage company Cheek By Jowl in the 1990s and was well established as a stage actor when he made his first TV appearance in Wuthering Heights (1998). A couple more TV roles followed but it was his role as Tom Quinn, head of Section D, in the hit BBC series MI-5 (2002) that really made his name at home. And, indeed, established his home - he met his wife, Keeley Hawes, while working on the show. A steady stream of TV and film work followed, with his performance as Mr Darcy in Pride & Prejudice (2005) firmly establishing his name worldwide.


Keeley Hawes (8 October 2004 - present) ( 2 children)


His mother was an actress and trained drama teacher.
Self-confessed John le Carré-style spy buff.
Has a younger brother called Jamie.
Graduated from RADA in 1995.
Attended Oakham School in Rutland, Leicestershire; drama scholar from 1990 to 1992.
Associate Member of RADA.
Stepfather of Miles, son of his wife Keeley Hawes from her previous marriage.
Hadn't read Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" before shooting the film adaptation. Instead, he based the character of Mr. Darcy on the script.
According to Audio Commentary of MI-5/Spooks Series 2 Episode 1, Matthew Macfadyen is allergic to cats.
London Marathon finisher 3 years.
Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes met on the set of Spooks. She had very recently married her long-term boyfriend, with whom she had a young son. She and Macfadyen married 18 months later and live with their three children in east London.
starts filming new series of MI-5 (2002). [January 2004]
Is to play the role of "Mr Darcy" in the upcoming film adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice (2005), opposite Keira Knightley. [June 2004]
From May to August 2005, played Prince Hal in a National Theatre production of Henry IV. [May 2005]
Played Elyot in Noel Coward's "Private Lives" at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. Starred with Kim Cattrell

(October 2013) Jeeves in "Perfect Nonsense" at The Duke of York's Theatre in London. [April 2010]
He is of Scottish (father) and Welsh (mother) descent.
Became a father for the 2nd time at age 31 when his wife Keeley Hawes gave birth to their son Ralph Owen Macfadyen in September 2006.
Became a father for the 1st time at age 30 when his wife Keeley Hawes gave birth to their daughter Maggie Liberty Macfadyen in December 2004.

Personal Quotes 

The other day, I was somewhere terribly glamorous -- Brent Cross, I think it was -- and a guy came up to me and said, "I've blown your cover."
I would hate not to do a play every couple of years. I think it's not me. I did four or five years in telly, and by the end of it was drained. I was a bit sick of myself. I didn't feel like an actor anymore. That sounds silly, but when you're doing a play you're using different muscles, and it blew all the cobwebs away.
[on approaching the character of Mr. Darcy for Pride and Prejudice:] I find Darcy very sympathetic, I find it heartbreaking that he's seen as very haughty and proud - and he is those things - but he's a young man who is still grieving for his parents. He's from an ancient family and has this huge responsibility, but it seemed to me that he's still trying to work out who he is and how to be in the world. I found that very interesting, and I found him very sympathetic.
[When asked if modern viewers will view Mr. Darcy differently.] I think looking at it now, Darcy would seem much more snobbish in our understanding of the word than he would then. To somebody like Darcy, it would have been a big deal for him to get over this difference in their status, and to be able to say to Lizzie that he loved her. We would think it was incredibly snobbish and elitist, but it wasn't for him. It would have been a big admission, and he would have found it very vulgar. It's a bigger divide than it would have been then is what I'm saying.
[on his role as Elyot in Noel Coward's "Private Lives"] I think Coward was incredibly perceptive about marriage and sex. That thing about sexual desire co-existing with the inability to get on happily is a universal experience. He shows how those petty frustrations can be overwhelming: you can lose sight of why you wanted to be together in the first place when you're busy bickering and fighting and screaming at each other.
[on his favourite film] I think my favourite is a Swedish one called Fanny and Alexander (1982). It's seen through the eyes of two children whose mother remarries, and it's funny, sad, scary and wonderful.
Ever since Spooks, this perception of me as solemn, lantern-jawed and unsmiling has lingered, but that buttoned-up Englishness is only one facet of what I can do. I'm always surprised when people say, "Crikey, we didn't know you could do comedy!"
[on his role as Darcy] All the Bennets were having a great time; it was all very cosy. Then I'd come along and be a bit sullen for a couple of days and then f--- off again! It didn't help that my wife was pregnant at the time, but I wished I'd enjoyed it more.
I sometimes wish I had an equivalent to "Sollocks" [the word Amanda and Elyot in "Private Lives" use to call a halt to their wrangling]. It's quite touching all that, the idea that there's a catchword to stop the conversation and calm things down. So much of what happens to Amanda and Elyot, and to couples, certainly to me and my wife, is that, whenever you have a row, you say things you don't mean because you don't have time to think.


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