Actor Matthew Rhys has admitted he is feeling the pressure of taking on the role of Mr Darcy, and is worried about disappointing fans.
The Americans star
has been cast as Mr Darcy in a new BBC adaptation of PD James’ Pride and Prejudice murder mystery spin-off, Death Comes To Pemberley.
Rhys, from Cardiff, said he realised he had a lot to live up to in the wake of eye-catching performances by stars such as Colin Firth, who famously set pulses racing in a TV adaptation with his dripping wet appearance.
He confessed: “It’s a bit of a worry.
“Regardless of Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen or Laurence Olivier or whoever else has played him, so many people have read the book. They have an incredibly special relationship with Darcy, they have a very clear idea of who he should be. So you’re concerned that you’re only set up for disappointment.
“I’m a glass half-empty man,” he added at the Cointreau after-party following the Glamour Awards.
Firth became a heartthrob after his 1995 BBC portrayal of Darcy, while Spooks star Matthew Macfadyen played him in director Joe Wright’s film adaptation in 2005. Laurence Olivier played him in the 1940 big screen version.
Rhys will star alongside Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Goode, as George Wickham respectively, in the three part drama, which will begin filming on location in Yorkshire later this month.
Rhys said: “The good thing about it is, it’s not Pride and Prejudice Darcy, it’s a different Darcy so I can’t be held up as a mirror image to Mr Firth.”
The Brothers and Sisters star is currently appearing with Keri Russell in new ITV drama The Americans, about a pair of Russian spies living undercover as a couple in Washington in the 1980s.
He admitted the espionage thriller was a lot more fantastical than hit US drama Homeland.
Rhys said: “It’s fantastical – you do ask a lot of the audience to go with you on the journey.
“But as fantastical as it is, it’s only two weeks ago they caught a CIA operative in Moscow with two bad wigs and a suitcase full of cash!
“So at least you can say we’re topical.”