Sunday, October 27, 2013

Matthew Macfadyen: Ripper star: My children would rather watch Gru

Ripper Street: Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) and Blush Pang (Kunjue Li)

27 October, 2013
Keeley Bolger

It’s the Victorian crime drama known for its grit but 
Matthew Macfadyen, star of BBC One’s Ripper Street, is more likely to laugh his way through gruesome scenes than turn green.

The 39-year-old actor, who plays leading man Detective Inspector Edmund Reid, has had his iron stomach tested while filming the returning second series.

Scenes featuring a man falling from a window and impaling himself are just some of the delights in store, though Macfadyen admits that it’s in these situations that he’s most inclined to inappropriately burst into a fit of giggles.

“The guy who was impaled on the railings in episode one didn’t make me feel too squeamish because it’s very cleverly done,” says Macfadyen. “We were actually trying not to laugh. It’s the dark, high-stakes scenes that, for me, are the funniest.”

And there was one in particular that sticks in this Norfolk-born actor’s mind.

“There was this Contagion-esque episode in the first series where we had a really long scene and spent the whole day on it,” he says.

“At one point I had to say to Adam [Rothenberg, who plays Captain Homer Jackson], ‘What’s in the stomach? What have you found?’”

The reply that it was semen set the two actors off, and after a few bodged takes Macfadyen had to leave the room.

“It’s painful. You think, ‘Is this going to be one of these scenes I can’t get through?’ It really becomes a worry,” laughs Macfadyen, who’s made a name playing brooding types such as Mr Darcy in Pride And Prejudice and Enid Blyton’s first husband Hugh Pollock in 2009’s Enid.

In Ripper Street, Reid and loyal deputies Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake, played by Jerome Flynn, and Captain Jackson are back to battle new crimes in the East End of London.

“Reid’s living in his office in Leman Street. He’s not at home any more, so it’s pretty lonely,” explains Macfadyen.

“His wife isn’t there and we don’t know why. He’s in a pretty dark place and just throwing himself into his work.”

While his marriage is in tatters, his career is busier than ever with a new detective, Sergeant Albert Flight, played by Being Human actor Damien Molony, to take under his wing.

The series, and Macfadyen, has its loyal followers, including his 13-year-old stepson Myles.

“He saw the first episode of the second series recently and really enjoyed it,” says the actor.

“But my younger kids [Maggie, eight, and Ralph, six] aren’t really interested yet. They’d much rather watch Despicable Me 2.”


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