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