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Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Face Off: Austen Heroes on the Silver Screen

[Note: Barnabus and Fred have been so swept up in the Austen festivities that they have gone on an extended vacation to England to visit Chawton...]
Going off of yesterday's Character Connection, the men of Austen on film are here to duke it out.  Prepare for things to get so sweaty, someone may have to take their shirt off...

Colin Firth v. Matthew MacFadyen v. Elliot Cowan as Fitzwilliam Darcy
The Verdict: Hmm, a Darcy-off, eh?  I'm going to be honest here: Cowan was an ass and a little too quivery-voiced, MacFadyen was a bit too moony-eyed and broody, and Firth was...perfection, but the fact is, I adore them ALL and I will take them ALL.   One on each arm and one to open the door and look at me adoringly.  Everybody wins.
(And before the Cowanites (*cough*Velvet*cough*) get up in arms about me calling Cowan an ass -- it was in the best possible way.  He really does capture that I-need-to-hate-you quality Darcy has at the beginning)

Simon Woods v. Tom Mison as Charles Bingley
The Verdict: This one is hard, too.  I think Woods is closest to my idea of Bingley, and I adored him in this role.  Mison was a bit bumbling for my tastes, and made ridiculous faces, but I still thought he really got Bingley.  So this one goes, very narrowly, to Simon Woods, who just breathed Bingley to me.

Ciaran Hinds v. Rupert Penry-Jones as Capt.  Frederick Wentworth
The Verdict: This may be controversial, as I know there are some of you out there who are die-hards for the Ciaran/Root version, but Penry-Jones killed it.  Killed.  He was fantabulous beyond the telling of it, exactly what I wanted in my Wentworth.  He was angry and haughty and standoffish, and passionate and smoldering and mmmm...  Perfect.  RPJ wins hands down.

JJ Fields as Henry Tilney
The Verdict:  Just as there was only one Catherine Morland for me in last weeks' FFO, there is only one Henry Tilney.  Fields did an admirable job of bringing Tilney to life, but honestly, where's the competition?  NA is so underdone that Fields pretty much stands on his own.  (Though there's still a good chance he would take the prize).

Jeremy Northam v. Jonny Lee Miller
The Verdict:  Er... I really am torn on this one.  I have a soft-spot for Northam because he was my first Austen man onscreen, but Miller really did a good job.  I think they were just two different takes on the same man.  Northam played him kind of soft and thoughtful, and Miller played him a little more self-aware and sad.  I like both, and both are different enough that I feel I don't need to pick a winner.  You should just see and enjoy both for yourself.

Blake Ritson as Edmund Bertram
The Verdict:  I know you're saying 'Wait!  Jonny Lee Miller should be in this face-off, too!'  And you're right.  Miller played Edmund in the more well-known version of MP, and he played him fairly well.  But the fact is, Edmund is a hard hero for me to like because I don't quite trust him, so I needed someone to win me over.  Ritson came closest.  And just look at him.  Yum.   

(<-- shirtlessness, as promised. ;p )


  1. I agree with you on most parts. I think the issue with Captain Wentworth is whether you play by the age given in the book or in the films. The version that Ciaran was in had Anne and Wentworth being much older than their characters. Anne is only supposed to be 27 and Wentworth in his mid thirties. Ciaran's version had them being in their 40's/50's. Rupert works perfect for the role going by age. He looks like a brash young captain and fits the part perfectly.


  2. For me, Colin Firth is the one and only Darcy. I don't like Matthew at all as Darcy. I love Elliot Cowan as an actor, as a stage actor he is amazing, I saw him just about a month ago in Shakespeare's Globe (oh yes, for like the 1/3 of the play he was shirtless, I was at the front row and he was literally drooling over me, i was in heaven), but as Darcy he is only okay. I think that after seeing Colin Firth as Darcy no one is going to go in front of him in my lists.

    I love Blake Ritson as Edmund. Edmund is my second favorite Austen hero. I also like Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund in the 1999 Mansfield Park, but I must say that JLM is better as Mr. Knigtley. Blake Ritson on the other hand has a totally wrong role in the new Emma adaptation. He cannot be as discusting and annoying as Mr.Elton is supposed to be because he is so darn hot and I always see him as Edmund.

  3. My votes:

    Colin Firth (really no other darcy comes close)

    Simon Woods

    Ciaran Hinds

    Jeremy Northam

    oh and where is my Edward (of course there is only one for him-Hugh Grant)

  4. Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy, but Cowan very much, too. I don't think Macfadyen got a big enough part to do Darcy justice. There really wasn't enough Darcy scenes in that version of P&P.

  5. You got me all hot and sweaty with that bit about sweaty Austen heroes losing their shirts!

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