British actor Matthew MacFadyen studied at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before beginning his career on the stage. He joined the renowned theater company Cheek and Jowl, with whom he participated in productions of The School for Scandal, Much Ado About Nothing, The Duchess of Malfi, and other plays. In 1998, he made a much-noticed transition to the screen with the role of Hareton Earnshaw in a television adaptation of Wuthering Heights. He would go on to appear in such films as Enigma and Almost Strangers before being cast in the lead role of Tom Quinn in the spy series MI-5 (aka Spooks) in 2002. He stayed with the series until 2004, and the next year he made yet another foray into period drama, playing the male lead of Mr. Darcy in a big-screen adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, opposite Keira Knightley. He soon followed it up with a turn in the quirky comedy Death at a Funeral in 2007, before signing on for the 2008 Ron Howard film Frost/Nixon. MacFayden would continue to appear on screen in several series to come, most notably on Little Dorrit, The Pillars of the Earth, Any Human Heart, and MI-5.
Biography by Cammila Collar
- Hails from a family of Welsh and Scottish heritage; raised throughout the United Kingdom and Indonesia as the son of an oil worker.
- Attended schools in England, Indonesia and Scotland.
- Has graced the London stage since 1995, gaining acclaim for roles as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (in a rare departure from his taut, serious image) and as Prince Hal in Henry IV.
- Met his wife, actress Keeley Hawes, while starring in the BBC television series Spooks (which aired as MI-5 on A&E Network in the U.S.).
- Nominated for a London Film Critics Circle Award for his role as Mr. Darcy in the 2005 film version of Pride & Prejudice.