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.