Welcome to Macfadders. A website supporting the career of Matthew Macfadyen. A wonderful British actor most known for his roles in Spooks, Pride and Prejudice and Ripper Street. The website will provide you with the most up to date news, projects, images and so much more on Matthew’s career and appearances. Follow us on twitter @onlinecasino65. Many thanks, Sarz.
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admin / April 28th, 2020   Interviews,Quiz,Succession

The British actor, who broke through as Tom Wambsgans in HBO’s Succession, stars in ITV drama Quiz as Charles Ingram, the former army major who cheated his way to the top prize on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Matthew Macfadyen is getting to grips with herd immunity over the phone. “I read in the paper today that they’re hoping everybody gets it so you create that herd immunity thing, but not in such a way that it’s a big surge, like Italy, so the health service isn’t overwhelmed.” It was the week that the World Health Organization confirmed the coronavirus (Covid-19) was a pandemic, the day after Britain moved from the “contain” phase of the crisis to “delay”, as the global death toll increased.

The 45-year-old British actor, who broke through in Succession (after starring in Ripper Street and as Mr Darcy in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice opposite Keira Knightley), talks through the situation calmly. “It’s just unsettling because it’s new and it’s not one of those things you can say, ‘Don’t worry. Everything will be all right,’ because nobody really knows and it’s not all right.”

Macfadyen’s next project, set 19 years ago, feels so far removed from the chaos of today’s world, and yet strangely becomes connected through a key symptom of the virus: coughing. In ITV drama Quiz, Macfadyen plays Charles Ingram, a former army major who won £1 million on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and was later found guilty of cheating (it was said in court that Ingram listened for coughs from Tecwen Whittock, who sat in the audience to steer him to the correct answers).

Originally a play by James Graham (writer of Brexit: The Uncivil War), the TV adaptation directed by Stephen Frears (A Very English Scandal and The Queen), leaves Charles’ guilt more open, suggesting he was dragged into cheating by his quiz obsessed wife, Diana, played by the brilliant Sian Clifford (also seen as Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s sister in Fleabag – and, yes, Macfadyen is a fan of the show: “I gobbled Fleabag up before I worked with her. It’s sort of perfect telly”). Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant, meanwhile, is remarkable. Upon seeing Sheen in character for the first time, Macfadyen recalls laughing. “Everyone went ‘Ah’ when he opened his mouth and started speaking because it was so uncanny. It was so brilliant, I sort of forgot what the real Chris Tarrant looked like after a week of sitting opposite Michael.”

The journalist Jon Ronson, who reported the trial for the Guardian, was also divided as to whether Charles cheated. In 2006 he wrote an opinion piece titled “Are the Millionaire three innocent?”, which took into account details from the trial, as well as conversations with other quizzers. After filming, was Macfadyen any clearer on whether Charles did cheat? “No. It left me just as completely bewildered as when I started,” he says, adding, “What happened to them was extraordinary, as well as horrific in many ways. They were really vilified publicly and sort of aggressively after the events. They suffered quite a lot, I’d say.” The coughing scandal was one of the first TV contestant backlashes of its kind, having now become commonplace among Love Island stars on social media. “We’re sort of used to them now, with Twitter pile-ons and all this stuff,” he says. “But then the tabloids were much more powerful than they are now.”

For Macfadyen, getting into character meant false teeth (which he’s kept) and studying documentaries and YouTube clips, including the episode of Wife Swap with Jade Goody. He was keen not to do an impersonation, but more of an impression of Charles. The strangest moment was when Macfadyen met the real Diana and Charles on his last day of shooting. Macfadyen describes the experience of meeting them in one word: “Odd,” he says, laughing. “It was sort of lovely, actually. They were really just great. They were really pleased to be there. It was a very quick conversation, shook hands, said hello. Laughed about, you know, that I had on sort of a version of his clothes.”

What did they talk about? “He just sort of laughed and chatted, I think he’d been watching Succession, he was quite complimentary about that.”

Charles Ingram is just one of the many fans of the hit HBO show, created and written by Jesse Armstrong (alongside a Marvel Avengers team of comedy writers, which includes Lucy Prebble, Tony Roche, Jonathan Glatzer and more). The show now coming up to its third series follows the ageing head of a Murdoch-like media dynasty, who reluctantly has to hand over his crumbling empire to one of his terrible children. The scale of the show’s audience has become so broad that, unbelievably, even Elisabeth Murdoch is a fan.

Macfadyen is perfect as the ludicrous tragic-clown figure Tom Wambsgans, an outsider to the family, who marries Siobhan Roy, one of the heirs to Waystar Royco. At times, Tom feels purer than the rest of them – after being told Shiv (Siobhan) wants an open relationship on their wedding night, Tom sits on it for a whole series before telling her, “I wonder if the sad I’d be without you, would be less than the sad I get from being with you.”

While other times he flaunts the same Machiavellian levels of toxicity as the Roy family (in series two when cousin Greg asks to go to another department, effectively breaking up with Tom, Tom ferociously pelts Greg with water bottles – stopping the security guard from intervening, claiming it’s “executive level business”).

Due to the pandemic, the resolution from series two’s cliffhanger will take more time. “We’re supposed to come back and do more in April, so I’m sort of hoping… well, I don’t know. I think it’s all a bit up in the air… but that’s the plan,” says Macfadyen. HBO recently confirmed the delay, “We are looking forward to resuming preproduction when it is safe and healthy for everyone working on our shows to do so,” HBO said in a statement. “Where possible, our writers are continuing to write remotely.”

When series three begins filming, Macfadyen doesn’t know what’s coming for his character (they often get scripts a few days before filming episodes), but he has high hopes for Tom and Greg’s relationship. “I think Nick [Braun] and I both said we’d be kind of dismayed if they had less to do with each other than before.” He talks through their dynamic like a pundit doing a post-match analysis. “It looks like Greg has sort of gone over to team Kendall a bit, with the papers, and also Tom has sort of treated him pretty badly. It’s a complicated relationship.”

In between series, Mayfadyen says the cast have kept in touch through message groups – and while he doesn’t have a favourite character in the show, he is a fan of Connor. “I do have a soft spot for Connor, so ridiculous. [Actor] Alan Ruck is so brilliant and so funny. When he’s trying to borrow $100 million or something from his dad, he’s just pathetic in the true sense of the word.”

Succession’s popularity doesn’t stop at its numerous award wins (Golden Globes, Emmys and a Bafta) or its countless memes. It filters through to the way we’re dressing. “It’s a real sort of Davos, Sun Valley, casual-bro billionaire look, apparently,” says Macfadyen. “And it’s ubiquitous. They wear Moncler gilets and they all look the same.” The gilet-puffer look became so big that Moncler’s revenue jumped 27 per cent last year (vests made up 14 per cent of outerwear sales in 2019, up from eleven per cent in 2018). Jeremy Strong, who plays Kendall, had the most luxe clothing on set to reflect his billionaire status. “Though Tom is extremely wealthy, I weirdly ended up in Brooks Brothers, which is very nice, but it’s not Loro Piana,” says Macfadyen.

When it comes to playing darker roles, Macfadyen readily admits how easy he finds it to switch off. “I mean, the nasty characters to play, it’s quite therapeutic.” He adds, laughing, “Get all this horrible, awful shit out, you know? And you can indulge that side. We’ve all got that in us.”

His darkest role yet comes in the form of The Assistant, in which Macfadyen plays the character Wilcock, an HR manager in a company regularly turning a blind eye to the continual abuse of women. As Weinstein starts a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault at a New York state prison, has Macfadyen seen a change in the industry after Me Too? “Yes,” he says. “For example, you now have intimacy coordinators, which has happened quite recently. And it sort of makes perfect sense. It’s a really sensible thing, because so much goes under the radar. You know, people are coerced into things they aren’t especially comfortable with, to varying degrees, and that cannot happen. I think that’s great. It can’t be a bad thing.”

What comes across strongest when speaking to Macfadyen is his British sense of no-nonsense optimism, a brand that strengthens as he tells me an anecdote about his family. “We had a power cut where we live a few weeks ago, for like seven hours. Keeley [Hawes, his wife] and I lit candles and the kids came downstairs. They were like, ‘Where’s the internet?’” he shouts in a mock Kevin & Perry voice. “They came out of their rooms because they didn’t know what to do and we played Boggle and messed around and it was like, ‘Oh, wow. This is nice.’”

Despite all the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, he can’t help but be positive. “Everybody’s in the same boat, so I think hopefully it’ll be a collective. It’ll be a good thing. We’ll stop being so individualistic, maybe. I know that sounds trite and silly, but you know what I mean? If there’s ever a chance to have a sort of collective, communal bit of work, then this is it, I suppose.”

Source: British GQ

admin / August 6th, 2018   Interviews

Tune in tomorrow evening at 7pm on BBC1 to see our Matthew for half an hour on The One Show!

Recent projects

THE NUTCRACKER & THE FOUR REALMS
Character: Mr. Stahlbaum
Status: Released November 2018
 

SUCCESSION
Character: Tom
Status: Series 2 broadcast on Sky Atlantic
 

HOWARDS END
Character: Henry Wilcox
Status: Currently available on DVD
 


THE CURRENT WAR
Character: J.P Morgan
Status: Released Jan 2018 (UK)/Dec (USA)

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Established: July 2017

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