Which Darcy is the best Darcy?

Other actors have played Mr. Darcy, with varied results.

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Martin Henderson as William Darcy in Bride and Prejudice

Vincent Kartheiser is only the latest in a string of well-known actors who have accepted the challenge of attempting to plumb Darcy’s depths. Here’s a look back — and forward — at some of the most notable.

Colin Firth

Sideburns were never sexier, before or hence. The glowering gold standard of Darcys, who sparked mass cross-continental swooning when the 1995 BBC miniseries ran, Firth stated at the time that he didn’t understand all the fuss and that the role wasn’t “his cup of tea.” He later softened his tone, and even played modern spinoff suitor “Mark Darcy” in the “Bridget Jones” movies.

Laurence Olivier

With a natural aloof haughtiness tailor-made for the character, Olivier played Darcy in 1940, just a year after his turn as Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights.” He and co-star Greer Garson drew good reviews, though the film itself unforgivably updated the costumes by a decade or so to make them flashier.

Matthew Macfadyen

Currently starring in the BBC series “Ripper Street,” Macfadyen played a muted, depressed Darcy opposite a too-fiery Keira Knightley in the 2005 film, the version most often compared to the miniseries starring Firth and usually considered its inferior.

Farley Granger

The American film star, best known as dashing tennis star/murder suspect Guy in Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” played a singing and dancing Darcy in the 1959 Broadway musical “First Impressions” opposite Polly Bergen. It flopped.

Martin Henderson

The New Zealander starred in 2004’s “Bride and Prejudice,” a culture-spanning Bollywood version of Austen’s best-loved novel. This time, Darcy is a hotel magnate who falls for a girl whose parents are desperate to marry her off, to an Indian man.

Matthew Rhys

The Welsh-born star of last season’s hit TV drama “The Americans” will play Darcy in the BBC’s upcoming “Death Comes to Pemberley,” based on a P & P murder-mystery sequel penned by P.D. James.

????????

The film version of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” starring Lily Collins as Elizabeth Bennet, has yet to cast a Darcy. James McAvoy, anyone?

Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046

Darcy through the years:

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  • PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940 version) -- Greer Garson (at left) and Laurence Olivier (right) star in the 1940 movie classic "Pride and Prejudice," adapted from the Jane Austen novel. Handout file photo courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Pictures. ORG XMIT: MIN2013062710475743

  • Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice

  • Farley Granger and Robert Walker in the 1951 movie "Strangers on a Train." ORG XMIT: MIN2013070111052775

  • Photo by Laurence Cendrowicz Matthew Rhys in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" On MASTERPIECE CLASSIC Sunday, April 15, 2012 9-11pm ET on PBS Charles Dickens√ï unfinished last novel gets an ending worthy of the great author√ïs 200th birthday, celebrated this year. Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters), Tamzin Merchant (The Tudors), and Julia MacKenzie (Miss Marple) star in a gothic tale of passion, evil, and a mysteriously missing person. ¬© Laurence Cendrowicz/BBC for MASTERPIECE This image may be used only in the direct promotion of MASTERPIECE CLASSIC. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved. Editorial use only....

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