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Hello stranger

Message  Matthieu le Sam 30 Mai 2009 - 19:24

Par Emma Wright (Daily Express Saturday Magazine, 5 mai 2001).
[2 pages scannées, merci à Lady7]
If you saw the acclaimed Balkans drama, Warriors, you'll already know Matthew Macfadyen. If not, you shouldn't remain Perfect Strangers for long. Emma Wright gets acquainted. Main photograph: Mark Mawson
A DECIDEDLY crumpled and unshaven Matthew Macfadyen greets me with a sleepy "hello" and slumps straight back into his chair. By way of an apology for his appearance, he explains that he's not very good at being active: "I'm just not one of those people who wake up at eight and think, 'Right,
let's get on with the day.' I need someone to say, 'You need to be here at this time,' otherwise I'm happy to stay in bed."
Thankfully, someone has sorted him out this morning and he's managed to get himself from that bed and into the cab which brought him to our central London meeting place.You might recognise Macfadyen from his role in Warriors, the acclaimed BBC drama about the Balkan conflict, but today he is here to talk about his lead role in the upcoming drama, Perfect Strangers. He stars with Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall, Lindsay Duncan and Claire Skinner, and it is a part which will surely propel him from the world of the jobbing actor to something altogether more starry. In the three-part BBC series, written by the award-winning Stephen Poliakoff, Matthew plays suburbanite Daniel, who attends a glamorous family reunion with his reluctant father (Gambon) and long-suffering mother (Jill Baker). Dazzled by the more glitzy members of the gathering, Daniel becomes party to various family secrets and eccentricities, and adopts the role of a go-between for various warring factions.
The idea that an actor like Gambon plays his father strikes the 26-year-old as wonderfully absurd and surreal. Although it was daunting at first, in the end, says Matthew, it was a wholly enjoyable experience. "Gambon was fantastic and very generous. He's also the funniest man alive, telling all these stories, and you don't care if they're not true because they're so hysterical." Funnily enough, Matthew's mother had bribed her son when he was a teenager to finish a bit of GCSE course work with the promise that she would take him to see a West End play starring Gambon. So, yes, he admits, it was somewhat bizarre to find himself sitting next to this great actor, sharing a cigarette and a cup of tea at five in the morning on the first day of filming.
In his short working life, Matthew has felt like this several times. Coming face-to-face with Willem Dafoe, the star of the forthcoming film Sacrifice, in which Matthew has a small part, stopped him, literally, in his tracks. "Talk about star-struck," he laughs. "I saw him and had to walk away and think about it. But he was down-to-earth and lovely. The perfect example of how to be a movie actor."
Being a star may not be Matthew's overriding ambition, but he has wanted to be an actor for as long as he can remember. "I never seriously considered doing anything else - not that I thought 'I'm going to be the best', I just didn't really know what else to do," he explains.
He spent his formative years travelling around the world with his parents and younger brother (who is currently at university), a side effect of his father's job in the oil business. By the time he was nine years old, they were living in Jakarta, Indonesia. After two years in a local school, he returned to England and was enrolled in a co-ed boarding school in the Midlands. At 17, Matthew decided to test himself by going to a "grown-up audition" at RADA. He surprised himself by getting in and became the youngest member of his year. It was, he says, a thrilling experience being away from the half-baked atmosphere of school and among "these people with beards and women who looked like women".
On graduating, Matthew signed up with an agent and went off on a 10-month tour with the now-disbanded theatre group, Cheek By jowl. The company took its productions of Much Ado About Nothing and The Duchess Of Malfi on a world tour, from Bury St Edmunds to Bogota. "It was fab. We went all over the world, but touring can drive people mad. We did a lot of the tourist things when we first started, but after a while you don't know where you are any more and you just arrive and go straight to the hotel bar," explains Matthew. "I developed a fear of flying. After doing three world tours - I did another with the RSC - I just felt I'd been on too many flights. It narrows the odds. You also become a complete baby because you've got no responsibilities."
The response of the audiences was overwhelmingly positive, which made the West End seem stagnant by comparison. When Much Ado About Nothing opened in a Moscow theatre, the balcony began to crumble because so many people were trying to get in. "Very rarely do people try to break down the theatre door in London," Matthew observes wryly. The response of the press, however, was not as supportive. "I had very bad reviews for my first play, and they were all put up in the Wyndham's Thearre, where we were performing for a month. The show had good reviews, but my were spectacularly bad. And I remember them all," he says smiling. "One said, 'Matthew Macfadyen as the Duchess's love object is objectionably wooden' - isn't it sad that I remember that - and another in New York said I was 'deplorably dull'. They're always alliterative. You always feel a bit rough if you've had a battering, but even if you get good reviews, you still think they're nonsense."
While he was touring, Matthew made some close friends and met his current girlfriend, Sarita, who was also in Much Ado About Nothing. They've been together for three years but, as Sarita now lives in New York, they only see each other every couple of months. Is he tempted to relocate to the US like so many other Brit actors?
"I couldn't," he says firmly. ''I'd have to start all over again, although I'd love to go and work there for a year. But it's hard to work in theatre over there, I just think I'd be knocking my head against a brick wall if I tried."
For the moment, theatre is having to rake a back seat as Matthew has found himself working continuously in film and television. So far, he's had parts in three films: Ben Elton's Maybe Baby, in which he played one of the BBC controllers; Enigma, the story of the legendary wartime decoder, which stars Kate Winslet and is due out later this year; and Sacrifice. Apart from Perfect Strangers, Matthew's other largest role to date was as the Liverpudlian squaddie in Warriors. This won him a nomination for a Royal Television Society award, for which he was, ironically, up against Michael Gambon.
"Awards ceremonies are camp and good fun. I couldn't believe I'd been nominated and I had the best night," he remembers. "Then I met Gambon in rehearsals for Perfect Strangers and Poliakoff mentioned that we'd both been up for that reward. Gambon didn't even know he'd won, and said, 'Well, l've already got two, so I'll bring the award in for you to keep.' "
In the end, Gambon forgot. If I were Matthew, l wouldn't worry too much. lt won't be long before he's got his own attractive statuette to keep on the mantelpiece.
Perfect Strangers begins on BBC2 on Thursday.
Claire Skinner with Matthew Macfadyen in Stephen Poliakoff's Perfect Strangers
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Matthieu
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Re: Hello stranger

Message  Marina le Mar 2 Juin 2009 - 19:55

C'est toujours un plaisir de lire les interviews de Matthew. Merci.
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