Seventy-three years after Laurence Olivier, thirty-three years after David Rintoul, eighteen years after Colin Firth, and eight years after Matthew Macfadyen…. MATTHEW RHYS joins the I-Am-Darcy Club. He’ll be stepping up to play Mr. Darcy in BBC’s three-part series, Death Comes to Pemberley.
Pemberley is based on a bestselling novel of the same name by veteran mystery author P.D. James. Her 2011 whodunit is a sequel to Austen’s most famous work. In Pemberley, Darcy and wife Elizabeth, now wed for six years and the parents of two children, find themselves caught up in a murder investigation after a body turns up on the grounds of Pemberley, Darcy’s ancestral home.
There’s such a long history behind the role of Darcy in TV/film that I can imagine the pressure an actor might feel. Rhys himself said: “Exciting as it is, one of the challenges of a part such as Darcy are the comparisons that will be drawn to those who’ve institutionalised him in the past.”
In my opinion, the four actors (below) are the most memorable Mr. Darcys, memorable in the sense that they either portrayed Mr. Darcy in the BEST or WORST possible way.
Laurence Olivier played Mr. Darcy as an EFFEMINATE FOP
David Rintoul turned Mr. Darcy into THE NUTCRACKER (When he speaks, only his jaws move…he has no expression whatsoever. See the clip if you want a good laugh)
Colin Firth played Mr. Darcy as THE BROODER
Matthew Macfadyen played Mr. Darcy as THE HUMAN (shy and vulnerable)
If we were to gather all the Darcy fans into one room and if we had to come to a consensus on who played Mr. Darcy BEST… Oh, the horrors. I remember, in my Jane Austen Seminar, the class got a bit heated when our professor asked us that very question: “Who played Mr. Darcy best?” The room was divided into shouts of Macfayden and Firth.
I was on the Firth-side.
Nevertheless, I have a feeling that I’ll appreciate Rhys as Mr. Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley. I liked him enough in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012), he’s quite the talented actor.