Friday, December 05, 2008

There Are Only 30 British Actors in the Whole World, Part IV

It's time for another edition of There Are Only 30 British Actors in the Whole World, where I will lay out my findings to support this groundbreaking new theory.

The theory came about as I watched lovely film adaptations of great works of literature (and some good British romcoms) and...kept seeing the same people over and over again. You can read my previous installments of There Are Only 30 British Actors in the Whole World in parts one, two and three.

*Disclaimer: I promise to conveniently ignore all Britich movies, and movies featuring British actors, that are not based on a novel. Or do not have period costumes. Or a good romantic plotline. Also, I must at this time disclose my complete and abiding love for all things British. If I could go live in a flat in London right now, or possibly in a beautiful cottage in a quaint village near a moor, I'd drop everything and be on the next plane to Heathrow. Just thought you should know that.

*Other Disclaimer: If dissection of period British films bores you, you'd better stop reading right now.

Now, on with it. Last night I watched part one of Daniel Deronda (2002), which is a Masterpiece Theater TV production of the George Eliot novel. Gorgeous clothes. Gwendolyn's dresses are positively luscious. I'm planning to catch parts two and three this weekend. And I've never read the book, but is it weird that so far the story reminds me of Gone With the Wind? Where Gwendolyn is Scarlett, Mirah is Melanie and Daniel is Ashley. Not sure who Rhett is. Anyway, here you go:

Romola Garai plays Gwendolyn Harleth. Most recently (that I've seen) she was the older Briony in Atonement. I think I first saw her as Cassandra Mortmain in I Capture the Castle (which is also a fab book, BTW). She played Amelia Sedley in Vanity Fair, Kate in Nicholas Nickelby. In addition to these fab roles in movies based on great works of British literature, she was also the lead in, strangely enough, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. And I think she's playing Jackie O in an upcoming movie about the JFK assassination.

Daniel was played by baby-faced Hugh Dancy. I couldn't remember where I'd seen him until I IMDB'd him. He played Grigg in The Jane Austen Book Club (which was, incidentally, way better than the book. I'm almost horrified I think that.) He was also the handsome prince in Ella Enchanted, and was in Elizabeth I and King Arthur. He played David Copperfield in the TV movie version of that book. And OMG he's playing Luke Brandon in the upcoming Shopaholic movie (!!).

Hugh Bonneville was channeling Mr. Darcy's evil twin as Henleigh Grandcourt. Seriously. It took me a minute to remember where I'd seen him, but he played doofy Mr. Rushworth in the 1999 version of Mansfield Park, the one starring Frances O'Connor. According to IMDB he was also in the Kenneth Branagh Frankenstein (1994) but I don't remember seeing him.

And now for those "I've seen them before!" secondary characters whose names you usually don't recognize:

David Bamber plays the creeptastic and creeptastically-named Lush. He was the awesomely bad (and creeptastic in a different way) Mr. Collins in the 1994 A&E Pride and Prejudice! He's been in tons of other movies I haven't seen based on British works, like The Railway Children and The Merchant of Venice. He was also in I Capture the Castle with Romola Garai. And since he's so good at being creeptastic, he appears in the new Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie as the biggest creep of them all: Adolf Hitler. Way to go, David. You've reached the apex of creepiness. It's all down hill from here.

Greta Sacchi was the pitiful Lydia Glasher. She played Emma's old governess in the Gwenyth Paltrow Emma from the 90s. Also was Penelope in the 1997 TV version of The Odyssey and was Lady Macbeth in the 1998 TV version of Macbeth. I most recently saw her in the 2008 Brideshead Revisited.

Amanda Root played Gwendolyn's mother. Where do I begin? She was Anne Elliot in the 1995 Persuasion, the teacher Miss Temple in the 1996 Jane Eyre (the one with Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane), Winifred in the Forsyte Saga movies, and those are just the parts I've personally seen before.

I'll stop here, since I haven't seen the rest of the movie. I'd recommend it, so far. Particularly if you like beautiful period costumes, which of course I do.

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