After acquiring a good reputation with performances in such plays as “The Duchess of Malfi” (1995), “The School for Scandal” and “Much Ado About Nothing” (both 1998), British actor Matthew Macfadyen broke into the small screen with the popular role of Hareton Earnshaw in the TV version of “Wuthering Heights” (1998). He went on to give solid portrayals in the dramas “Warriors” (1999, netted a British Royal Television Society nomination) and “Perfect Strangers” (2001) before enjoying a huge breakthrough by playing MI5 agent Tom Quinn in the BBC hit series “Spooks” (2002-2004). On the popularity of the series, he stated, “The scripts are really good and they're exciting and they crack along quickly. It's glamorized and everyone likes spies and its three young people saving the world every week. It's topical with what's going on. I guess that's what really drew people in and there's nothing been on like it before. It's not a cop show. There hasn't been this kind of show on before I don't think.”
On the big screen, Macfadyen is perhaps best recognized as Mr. Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice” (2005), from which he won a Camie Award and a London Critics Circle Film nomination. “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,” Macfadyen said.
He also nabbed a New Zealand Screen Award and a British Independent Film nomination for his starring role in “In My Father's Den” (2004). His more recent projects include Frank Oz's “Death at a Funeral” (2007), Sharon Maguire's “Incendiary” (2008) and Ron Howard's “Frost/Nixon” (2008). A recipient of a Royal Television Society Award and a BAFTA nomination for his starring role in Channel 4's drama “Secret Life” (2007), Macfadyen also portrayed Inspector Neele in the made-for-TV film “Marple: A Pocketful of Rye” (2008).
Macfadyen has been married to actress Keeley Hawes since 2002. They have two young kids, Maggie and Ralph. Macfadyen also has a stepson named Myles from his wife’s former relationship.
Childhood and Family:
Born on October 17, 1974, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, David Matthew Macfadyen is the son of Martin and Menir Macfadyen. His father was an oil company employee and his mother, a former actress, taught history and drama. Matthew has a younger brother named James.
Due to his father's job, Matthew was educated in such countries as Scotland and Indonesia, in addition to England. From 1990 to 1992, he studied drama at a boarding school in Rutland, Leicestershire, called Oakham School. He was then accepted to the reputable Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), where he graduated in 1995.
Meeting in the television series “Spooks,” Matthew started dating London-born costar Keeley Hawes (born on February 10, 1976) in 2002. They married two years later on October 8, 2004. Their first child, daughter Maggie Macfadyen, was born in December 2004. The couple welcomed their next child, Ralph, in September 2006. Matthew is the stepfather of 8-year-old Myles, Hawes' son from a previous marriage.
Pride and Prejudice
“I just loved the whole idea of being an actor. We were waiting by the coach to go back to school where I was and I'd look at the stage door and think, ‘These creatures, where do they live? Where are they going now? To the pub? Wow!’ What's exciting is there's a curtain that divides the audience from this other world. You want to see behind.” Matthew Macfadyen
The son of a former actress, Matthew Macfadyen gained early stage experience while attending RADA, where he performed in various plays like Mikhail Bulgakov's “The Crimson Island” (1994), William Wycherley's “The Country Wife” (1994), Dale Wasserman's “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” (1995, played Chief Bromden) and Stephen Jeffreys' “The Libertine” (1995, as John Wilmot). Macfadyen's stage career gained a significant boost after he joined the well-known theater company Cheek by Jowl, where he portrayed Antonio Bologna in “The Duchess of Malfi” (1995) and Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing” (1998). He also toured with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the productions “A Midsummer Night's Dream” (1996, as Demetrius) and “The School for Scandal” (1998, as Charles Surface).
Already popular as a stage actor, the Norfolk native made the switch to the screen in 1998 when he was cast in the role of Hareton Earnshaw in the television movie adaptation of the Emily Brontë novel “Wuthering Heights.” He followed it up with the lead role of Private Alan James in the acclaimed BBC war drama “Warriors” (1999) and was nominated for a British Royal Television Society award in the category of Best Actor for his performance. Also in 1999, Macfadyen was spotted on stage playing Mr. Brougham for the Royal National Theatre production of “Battle Royal.”
Entering the new millennium, Macfadyen joined director Paul Seed and writer David Pirie for the two part thriller “Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes” (2000) and costarred with Joely Richardson in the comedy “Maybe Baby” (2000, released in the Unites States in 2001), which was based on the Ben Elton novel “Inconceivable.” After supporting Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet and Saffron Burrows in the based-on-novel “Enigma” (2001), where he was cast as a submarine commander named Cave, the trained actor returned to the small screen to portray Daniel in the BBC Two drama “Perfect Strangers” (2001), opposite Michael Gambon. That same year, he also starred as Sir Felix Carbury in the miniseries “The Way We Live Now” (BBC), which was directed by David Yates.
The next year saw Macfadyen star as Paul Tibbenham in BBC’s drama “The Project,” but the gifted performer did not hit the big time until he landed the starring role of government agent Tom Quinn in the spy series “Spooks,” which also starred his wife Keely Hawes as Zoe Reynolds. Debuting on BBC One on May 13, 2002, the show became a massive hit with critics and also collected a following on cable television in the United States. Macfadyen was in the series until its third season in 2004.
While working on “Spooks,” Macfadyen resumed his big screen career by having a small part in “The Reckoning” (2003), a drama starring Paul Bettany, and a starring role in the mystery “In My Father's Den” (2004). Playing journalist
Paul Prior in “In My Father’s Den,” he took home a 2005 New Zealand Screen award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Macfadyen also starred as Mr. Darcy in a highly applauded adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” (2005), opposite Keira Knightley. For his effort, he was handed a 2006 Camie Award and a nomination for British Newcomer of the Year at the London Critics Circle Film (ALFS). Also in 2005, he earned additional recognition on stage thanks to his role of Prince Hal in “Henry IV, Parts One and Two” at the Royal National Theatre.
In 2007, Macfadyen starred as Charley in the Channel 4 drama “Secret Life,” helmed by Rowan Joffe. The role won Macfadyen a Best Actor Award at the 2007 Royal Television Society Awards and a BAFTA nomination in the same category. The same year, he also participated in a short sketch comedy for Comic Relief, “The Big One,” in which he appeared as the groom in “Mr. Bean's Wedding,” costarred with his wife in the Frank Oz comedy “Death at a Funeral” and appeared in Robert Rodriguez's “Grindhouse.” On stage, he appeared in “The Pain and the Itch.” He said, “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.” Matthew Macfadyen
Recently, Macfadyen joined Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor to star in “Incendiary” (2008), which was directed and scripted by Sharon Maguire, and starred as Arthur Clennam in the BBC 15-part series “Little Dorrit” (2008), opposite Andy Serkis, Mackenzie Crook and Eddie Marsan. He also completed filming “Frost/Nixon,” which was directed by Ron Howard. The drama, in which he plays John Burt, was shown at the London Film Festival on October 15, 2008. Costars of the film included Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Frank Langella, Rebecca Hall and Michael Sheen. Macfadyen then starred as Inspector Neele in the TV movie “Marple: A Pocketful of Rye” (2008), based on Agatha Christie's story. The project also starred Rupert Graves, Hattie Morahan, Kenneth Cranham, Wendy Richard, Prunella Scales and Julia McKenzie.
Royal Television Society (RTS): Best Actor - Male, “Secret Life,” 2008
Character and Morality in Entertainment: Camie, “Pride & Prejudice,” 2006
New Zealand Screen: Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, “In My Father's Den,” 2005