Chasing Matthew Goode
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Matthew Goode Is Even Better In ‘Ordeal By Innocence’ Than He Is In ‘The Crown’
By Meghan O’Keefe  Decider August 10th 2018

Pardon the pun, but British actor Matthew Goode is having a very good year. He gets paid to drink wine and giggle on The Wine Show, stars in this fall’s A Discovery of Witches, and just nabbed his first Emmy nomination this year for playing Princess Margaret’s husband Tony Armstrong-Jones in The Crown. So, yeah, Matthew Goode is doing good. However, his biggest triumph of the year might be happening this weekend. Matthew Goode is co-starring in Amazon Prime Video‘s new Agatha Christie adaptation, Ordeal By Innocence. And here’s the thing: Goode is even better in Ordeal By Innocence than he is in The Crown.

As murder mysteries go, Ordeal By Innocence is one of the better ones. It’s a stylish, disloyal interpretation of Christie’s work, lifted by exquisite costume design and an exceptional cast that includes Bill Nighy, Alice Eve, Anna Chancellor, Eleanor Tomlinson, and the aforementioned Matthew Goode. A wealthy woman, known for opening her home to orphans and adopting them as her own, is murdered in the opening scene. It’s thought that the family embarrassment, Jack, is responsible for the murder, and he is sentenced for the crime and dies in jail. A little while later, though, a man claiming to be Jack’s alibi shows up on the eve of the widower’s wedding to his former secretary. It seems the killer is still free, and the killer is one of the remaining family members.

Goode plays Philip Durrant, an alcoholic war hero who has married the family’s eldest daughter, Mary (Eleanor Tomlinson). We first see Philip in a private moment of strength, exercising on some parallel bars (while also sneaking some unholy looks at his sister-in-law Hester). Soon it’s revealed that Philip broke his back in a car accident and is confined to a wheelchair. Philip is a smoldering mess of bitterness. He snipes at his wife and bemoans his condition with dark humor. He delights in addling the family and likes to unsettle people by urinating in a special caddy at the dinner table. He would be odious, but Goode gives him that glimmer of despair that makes you understand that pain has driven him to this point. It’s physical pain, but also the fact that his injury, and his position as a hanger-on to a rich family he hates, has annihilated his personal sense of pride.

Now the reason why I personally think Goode is better here than in The Crown is that he only gets halfway to this point of self-loathing as Tony Armstrong-Jones. It’s a similar role, to be sure. Both the Earl of Snowden and Philip Durrant suffer from the same affliction: vanity twisted into sourness thanks to an advantageous marriage gone awry. However, Tony Armstrong-Jones is louche figure, strutting into affairs with ease and kind of in love with his unhealthy romance with Margaret. Durrant is more tragic because he seems to crave a connection with someone — even if that connection is between a sadist and his plaything.

Goode has bounced around film and TV projects for the last 15 years, and it hasn’t been until recently that he’s been cast in the right kind of roles for what he’s good at. He’s a tremendous romantic lead, and a delicious cad, but he excels at playing beautiful men who are battling ugliness inside. In Ordeal By Innocence, he lets that nastiness shine through in performance that is ironically exquisite.

Ordeal By Innocence is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.


‘Downton Abbey’ Movie Gets Greenlight; Original Cast Returns For Summer Start – Deadline July 13th 2018

EXCLUSIVE: It’s official, the Downton Abbey movie is a go. Focus Features has set production with Carnival Films to begin this summer for a return to all things Crawley. The original principal cast, including Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and more, are set to reprise their upstairs/downstairs roles with Focus and Universal Pictures International distributing.

Creator Julian Fellowes has written the film’s screenplay and will produce alongside Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge. Brian Percival (The Book Thief), who directed the series’ pilot, will helm the film. Nigel Marchant will also return to executive produce.

The game-changing Downton Abbey followed the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them for six seasons on the UK’s ITV and PBS’ Masterpiece in the U.S., garnering a massive worldwide following and helping to kick-off the so-called new golden age of television while making period drama chic again — we also learned terms like “entail” and, famously, mused “what is a weekend?” The series won three Golden Globe Awards, 15 Primetime Emmys (out of 69 nominations in total) and a special BAFTA. Downton is the most nominated non-U.S. television show in the history of the Emmys.

Story details are being kept under wraps for now. The drama had its fair share of sad season conclusions from the outbreak of World War I to Matthew’s death by car crash. But turns of events as the post-Edwardian clan rang in 1926 in the 2015 series finale kept things cheerful with Edith marrying — and outranking her entire family; Mary expecting her second child; Anna and Bates welcoming their first; Tom and Henry christening their fancy new car dealership; Robert accepting Cora’s role outside the house; Isobel and Lord Merton in wedded bliss; and more blossoming romance for the downstairs crew: Mrs Patmore & Mr Mason, Daisy & Andy, Baxter & Molesely… Also notable and emotional was the resolution of Thomas’ arc from footman-you-love-to-hate, to tortured soul, and finally a place of honor on the Grantham estate — which even a somewhat humbled Carson couldn’t argue.

Not every recurring character we’ve seen over the years will feature in the film, although Highclere Castle will return as the family’s hub.

Gareth Neame, Carnival’s Executive Chairman and the film’s producer said, “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production. Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”

Focus chairman Peter Kujawski adds, “Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter. We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen.”

The Downton Abbey movie is a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International distributing. A release date has yet to be set.


Maybe You Should Chill Out And Watch ‘The Wine Show’
BRIAN GRUBB  – 1st June 2018

Let’s say, hypothetically, you’re stressed out. It’s your job, or it’s your family, or it’s the never-ending hellspiral of online discourse that gets beamed into your brain by the tiny computer that might as well be bolted to your palm. Let’s say you’ve been on edge and arguing with strangers on social media and shouting “Get off the road, you maniac!” at sweet old ladies who are trying to make a left turn into the pharmacy to pick up the arthritis medication they can barely afford. Or whatever. Again, purely hypothetical. But let’s say you can relate.

Well, here’s a suggestion: Maybe you should chill out and watch The Wine Show.

Are you familiar with The Wine Show? I do hope you are. The Wine Show is a goddamn delight. It is a show produced by ITV in Europe that is now in America on Hulu and the Ovation Network. It is literally a show about wine and drinking wine and gadgets related to wine. And it’s a show about friendship. The first-season is hosted by Matthew Goode (who you know from Downton Abbey and The Good Wife) and Matthew Rhys (The Americans), who appear to be having just the best time any two buddies have ever had. They’re so charming together. Goode comes off kind of like James Bond’s mischievous younger brother and Rhys is a total goofball. He’s a giggly bearded mess the whole time. I love it. I think images will help. This is how Matthew Rhys looked in every episode of The Americans.


This is how he looks in every episode of The Wine Show.


You’ve never seen two people have more fun on television. With good reason. They are getting paid to travel around Italy and drink wine. A lot of wine. So much wine that, well, let’s let Matthew Rhys describe how much wine:

“It’s an incredibly hard show to film because you start drinking at 8:30 every morning and you drink solidly —there’s no spittooning — until 6:30 p.m.,” says Rhys. Apparently that limited Rhys and Goode’s ability to say anything other than “this is a nice red” or “it’ll go well with chicken” about the wines. “By 6:30pm they’re cutting the script because we’re slurring so much and they say just use short words and short sentences.”
There are worse jobs.

But I hear you. You’re saying “This all sounds nice, but are there segments on The Wine Show or what?” Buddy, there are segments. There are so many segments. Each episode has the same basic structure, with extended travel bits featuring wine expert Joe Fattorini, and bits where a chef will pair a dish to a wine (instead of the opposite), and bits where co-host Amelia Singer will venture off to introduce the audience to some off-beat winemaker (one of whom, I promise, is Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan), and a truly wonderful bit where Fattorini will present a comically elaborate and overpriced wine gadget to Goode and Rhys and the two of them will crack jokes in their best Sean Connery accents for about five minutes.


The best segment, however, is the one where Goode and Rhys are sent off into Italy to taste and learn about a specific kind of wine, with each of them selecting a bottle and bringing it back to Fattorini so a winner can be chosen. Do you want to see Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys sipping wine in scenic locations all over Italy? Do you want to see them sit in chairs like naughty schoolboys while a wine expert gives them a hard time about their wine selections? Let me answer for you: yes, you do and yes, you do.

Oh, crap. I didn’t tell you about the villa yet. The villa! Each episode begins with an intro that explains the series, in general, and during that intro we are treated to sweeping shots of a luxurious Italian villa located on a vineyard. This is where the gadget segment is filmed and where — we are led to believe — the showcase segment is filmed, too. But listen to the narration Goode delivers in the intro, where he says “Our team of wine experts has traveled to 11 countries on five continents to bring back the best and most interesting wines, here, to our Italian villa.”


Notice that? “Our.” Now, the rational part of me knows, for a fact, that by “our” he means “the villa the producers rented for the filming of this series.” But I have to tell you, if you watch The Wine Show, which I really do insist you do for your mental health, please do pretend that Matthews Goode and Rhys own the villa. Like, that’s it’s theirs, and they live there full time when they’re not acting in their respective projects. It adds a chef-kissing-his-fingers layer to everything that you deserve to experience.

And guess what: Once you watch this first season of The Wine Show, you can then treat yourself to a second season of The Wine Show, this one featuring Goode and actor James Purefoy gallivanting about France, with Matthew Rhys back in London on gadget duty. There are so many Wine Shows and they’re all an hour long and like an audio/visual dose of a high-powered benzodiazepine. You owe it to yourself to watch The Wine Show. It’ll be good for you, and your soul, and your blood pressure. And that sweet old lady you cussed out on the road. She’s doing the best she can. You know that. You’re just not yourself right now. You need something to help you balance out a bit and get back to being a human.

Let The Wine Show heal you.

The Fix – 26th April 2018


And while James is certainly the leading lady in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, she is one of a stellar ensemble cast, featuring many other familiar faces from Downton Abbey, including: Penelope Wilton (Mrs Crawley), Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) and Matthew Goode (Henry Talbot).

Gushing over working with Goode again — who most recently played Princess Margaret’s love interest in The Crown — James says, “There’s this sort of sparring [between their characters] and this banter that they have that felt very easy, and I kind of felt very at ease with him, perhaps ’cause I had worked with him before and also because of who he is. He’s so hilarious.”


Border Counties Advertiser 25th April 2018

Michael Hudson, from Oswestry Film Society, on upcoming actor Matthew Goode.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is currently on general release, an adaptation of the bestselling novel set in post war Guernsey.

Lily James leads and among the supporting cast is Matthew Goode, you may not know his name, but his face will be familiar. Goode has the look of a 1950s matinee idol crossed with a minor royal and often plays vaguely aristocratic characters (Brideshead Revisited, The Crown) mostly in supporting roles. He seems to be an actor that directors know is great, but haven’t quite figured out how to use. He’s done romantic fluff (Leap Year), big screen misfires (Self/Less) and minor British flicks (Pressure).

In the same way we can gauge how bad a Nicolas Cage film will be by how bad his hairstyle is in the poster, we can guess how underused Goode will be by whether or not he sports large round glasses. Like a lenticular card however, those good looks viewed from a different angle seem to hint at something mysterious, something darker, something unusual.

To quote Ann Widdicombe’s description of Michael Howard, there is definitely “Something of the night” about him, and it’s when we get to see this that he excels.

In 2013’s Stoker he played the shadowy Uncle Charlie. We first see him from a long distance, shimmering in the heat and slightly out of focus, and he stays this way even up close. His character is polite, gallant even, but always observing and waiting, curious, forever slightly removed. For my money its his greatest performance, unshowy and contained, well mostly, when he finally reveals his true nature, all bets are off.

Most recently you may have seen him playing philandering photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones in The Crown. Ambiguous in every way, his courting of Princess Margaret is gentlemanly yet cruel. This is when he’s at his best, embodying two contradictory traits simultaneously.

So, Matthew Goode, an actor wasted playing just one person at a time, how mysterious, how unusual, how curious.

The New Statesman – 12th April 2018 – Eve Cooke

[Extract] there is Matthew Goode’s quite delicious performance as the wheelchair-bound cad, Philip Durrant. Oh, boy. For all that he’s in a cravat, beside him everyone else looks so pale and weedy. The nastiness just oozes out of him, like blood.


The Times – 9th April 2018

[Extract] Oh, but hang them all — they pale into insignificance next to Matthew Goode’s deliciously reptilian Lieutenant Durrant. What a beauty of a performance. Whether hissing “confess” at Tina or doling out piping hot home truths over his breakfast grapefruit, Goode didn’t just steal every scene he was in, he convinced us that the scene belonged to him in the first place and, what’s more, he had the original receipt to prove it. How — spoiler warning — will we survive without him?

BBC Interview with Matthew Goode – Ordeal by Innocence

21st March 2018

Interview with Matthew Goode – Playing Philip Durrant

‘He was a really fun character to play because there’s no limit to the nastiness that you can bring to him… I found myself apologising after takes’.

Can you tell us about Philip Durrant and how we first see him in the story?

When we first encounter Philip, he’s disabled in a wheelchair and we’re not quite sure where it happened or why it happened. He was a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force and flew fighters. I suppose the psychology of Philip is that he had all that freedom, was a war hero yet when we first encounter him he’s poisonous, a drunk, addicted to morphine and also likely to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress. He’s a very interesting character. I also think he ended up this way is because of the way he has to live, it being the 1950s, some of the conditions he has to live his life by are particularly shocking.

Can you tell us a little bit about his relationship with Mary, and how that is affected by his accident?

Unfortunately for Mary, we hurt the ones we love the most as Philip becomes trapped in this effeminate room with no escape. Mary over does her care for him. Imagine someone continually touching and fussing over you, the poor girl has to do everything for him; all of the stuff that isn’t particularly nice. I think he does love her in some way but for someone to see you in such a state when you were such a hero and a very masculine character to now be completely emasculated and trapped in this room and this life, where there’s no escape must be nightmarish.

He seems like a very brash and hard character?

He’s not shy of letting people know exactly what he thinks and thinking he can get away with it. He treads a very dangerous line but no one’s going to throw him out because of his circumstances. I think there’s a vast amount of sympathy for Mary but no redeeming qualities in Philip. It sounds awful to say but he was a really fun character to play because there’s no limit to the nastiness that you can bring to him or the story, the duplicity. I found myself apologising after takes, I would go full Philip and after “cut” was called, I was just so sorry. Although very fun to play.

Is he actually attracted to Hester or is he just doing that to be spiteful to Mary?

I think he probably does, but the thing with Mary is he probably was in love with her, was attracted to her, she came with money. But then he lost the ability to use his lower half shall we say, and therefore the person looking after you and babying you and saying it’s ok they don’t need that part of her life anymore, it enrages him as that can’t be romantic.

How is it playing a character in a wheelchair? There must be a lot to think about in terms of the physicality of the part, as well as playing the role of Philip.

What I found difficult was the way Philip showers, and the way he brushes his teeth. We decided that it might be that he drags himself in, which was very likely and again sort of underlines what a nightmare he lives and how other people would have lived after the war if they’d had a similar injury. It’s quite interesting that we see him exercising because he needed that upper body strength. There is a vanity to him, massively, but this wasn’t a vanity for him, he just needed that strength.

You see him use that strength to his advantage when he goes to see Arthur. Tell us a little bit about that scene and story.

That was the first scene we shot. Luke Treadaway is a very, very talented actor, just fabulous. It’s really interesting to see what’s he’s done with Arthur. I suppose that’s one of the reasons it’s such a great Christie is that it doesn’t follow the same format as many of the other stories, there’s no detective. In a weird way Arthur is the detective but he doesn’t go about it in the way that a normal Christie would work. The scene between them both is an interesting one, on the one hand Philip is being the nice guy from the family because Arthur has been shunned as a liar, but Philip can’t quite hide his true self as he’s been drinking and had an enormous injection of morphine. You get to see him at full speed, to see the cogs working. Arthur can’t really see a train when it’s approaching I think it’s fair to say, so it ends with Philip sort of getting his way and terrifying the wits out of Arthur and making it look like Arthur has attacked him. It was quite a smart play in a weird way.

This Christie seems to be a lot darker than perhaps we’re used to of previous adaptations in which you’ve starred before (Patrick Simmons in Marple’s A Murder Is Announced). Have you seen the style of Christie change since then? And how do you think Sarah Phelps has contributed to that?

It seems to me like there’s a slight shift in realising that a lot of this older stuff, the way it’s been shot before was very chocolate boxy and everything’s great. Whereas actually in the post war period there was a lot of philandering going on, a lot of people who had lost everything financially. Why commit murder? Most murders are to do with money and to do with sex. That aspect doesn’t change, but the way we are now filming it has. It feels like it’s been updated into a language we can understand, rather than it being twee. So the violence is going to be slightly more graphic and so too is the language.

Sarah is so descriptive in her scripts. How does that help you as an actor?

I love it. We would call it the given circumstances. It feels like it’s almost wasted words really because none of them are being spoken. Sarah is just really, really talented and so nice to work with. She’s as cool as Bill Nighy, and that is saying something.

Speaking of Bill how has it been working with him?

He’s a joy. I’ve loved Bill for a long time and met him years ago; I was thrilled that he actually remembered me. He is everything that you’d want him to be and more. He is charming, incredibly smart, and intelligent and a clinically brilliant actor. He knows exactly what he’s going to do and it’s a joy to watch. He also brought a calmness to the set and I think everyone was just slightly in love with him.

You feel sympathy for so many of the characters.

I think all of the characters have that. That’s what’s so great about it. One of the ways Sarah has crafted the script is that it’s not one character heavy, or two characters, everyone gets a fair crack of the whip in it which I think really suits the format of the murder mystery as everyone’s in play. Everyone does things that are slightly morally dubious or slightly corrupt and that’s fascinating. There’s no one red herring, as a red herring generally stands out, with this particular story, it could be any of them.

How has it been working with Sandra (Goldbacher, Director)?

Sandra was brilliant; she’s very smart and with John, our extremely capable DOP it worked very efficiently. She had a lovely short hand way of working where it’s not reams of notes; it’s succinct and was very adept at the psychology of all the characters. There wasn’t a person I witnessed that didn’t go ‘Ah that’s a good idea’, which is exactly what you want from a director.

The story is very dark and disturbing. Have there been chances to have some fun on set?

That’s the thing with Agatha Christie; it’s just really fun. I think that’s the case with all sets, you need to lighten the mood a little bit but also I’m playing one of the most ridiculous characters. He’s in his wheelchair and he’s angry and high on all kinds of things and just completely vile which has been fun.



Matthew Goode On Growing Up In Cornwall, Family Life And The Crown –

Viv Groskop for Red Online – January 3rd 2018

[ note – Matthew did not grow up in Cornwall so we were all rather confused by that part of the interview.  We think the interviewer may have misheard him!]

From Downton Abbey to The Good Wife (not to mention a Hollywood film career, a perfect family life and a collection of famous mates in between), actor Matthew Goode has had it pretty good so far. And with a starring role in the new series of Netflix’s lavish royal drama The Crown, things are about to get even better, says Viv Groskop

Despite his extremely caddish good looks, I find myself wanting to dislike Matthew Goode intensely. You see, he’s just a bit too good to be true. He has the perfect life. The pick of film and TV roles. Best mates with “Ben” (Cumberbatch) and Jamie Dornan. A gorgeous wife, Sophie, and three kids. A luxurious country pile in Surrey. (OK, I’m guessing it’s luxurious. He has not invited me round yet.) Really, he should be incredibly annoying. However, it turns out he’s the opposite. Completely, almost ludicrously, charming. And funny, entertaining company. Much as you want to hate him, you just can’t. I can see why “Ben” and Jamie want to hang around with him.

Already well-known for his roles in The Imitation Game (alongside “Ben”), Match Point, A Single Man, The Good Wife and Downton Abbey, Goode is about to hit the even bigger time with a star turn in The Crown, the Netflix phenomenon. He’s playing Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon, the aristocratic society photographer who had an ill-fated, stormy 18-year marriage to Princess Margaret (played spiritedly by Vanessa Kirby).

He got the call just before last Christmas. It later turned out the director (Ben Caron) had directed Cumberbatch in Sherlock and also went to school with Matthew’s sister (of course he did). “Ben [the director] is extremely passionate and funny and he gave me this huge folder of stuff about Snowdon. I didn’t know a huge amount about him, although obviously I knew who he was. I decided to jump into it…with some trepidation as I was a fan of the first series. But more than most actors, I’ve had experience of jumping into successful series. It can give you the willies. But Ben gave me the confidence that I could pull it off.”

His performance is very, ahem, watchable, zipping around the back streets of London with Princess Margaret (Kirby) on his motorbike. Goode says he wasn’t intimidated by playing a real-life character but it was unnerving that Snowdon died just as they started filming. “In the first film I ever did, The Imitation Game, I was playing the writer Hugh Alexander. But when you’re playing Lord Snowdon… He’s a well-known public figure and there are still many people who can remember how he sounded, how he acted. You don’t want your performance to become an impression, though, you’re trying to find their essence. That’s what Claire [Foy, as the Queen], Matt [Smith, as Prince Phillip] and Vanessa [Kirby, as Princess Margaret] have managed to do so brilliantly.”

He loved “zipping in and around Buckingham Palace” on the bike and the fact that the shoot was in the UK, so that he could be with his family. And he loved Snowdon’s look. “I remember when I was working with Tom Ford [on A Single Man, alongside Colin Firth], he was very enamoured with Snowdon and his sense of style. Snowdon was pretty modern and interesting and dressed rather wonderfully. The costumes I had… I thought they were quite flash.”

A lot of people expect Goode to be based in Los Angeles but he says he would hate to leave the UK. So The Crown is perfect for him. “I’m very much based here. I have three children and a lovely wife and I just don’t like being away from them. Of course, needs must occasionally. But I’m very lucky. I’ve been able to mix work and family.” He grew up in the countryside in Cornwall and feels as if he has come back to his roots, just in a different part of the country. “I do miss Cornwall a bit. It’s one of the reasons it has been nice to retreat outside of London and be in a rural area. I grew up in a farming community. I adored it and had a fantastic childhood. Then I lived in cities from the age of eighteen, first in Birmingham, studying drama at university, then in London. It’s been so nice to wake up and see some fields in the morning. And the air quality is better.” See? He is even nice enough to care about air quality.

Although Goode comes across as old-school posh (and many of the parts that have most captured our attention channel this part of him), he says he had a fairly ordinary upbringing. “My mother divorced from her first marriage with three kids and met my father in a folk music club. He was a geologist and she was a nurse. She did have a huge passion for the theatre, though, and ran The Campion Players, the local amateur dramatics group. She involved me from a young age. I always thought that actors were an incredibly fun bunch and smart with it.”

It may not have been the most thespy of backgrounds, but I suspect when you look like Matthew, things just sort of land in your lap. His mother’s best friend happened to know Stephen Daldry (the director of Billy Elliot and The Hours). He mentions in passing that he was chatting to Nicole Kidman about this recently. As you do. Despite the am dram experience, though, he says: “I never imagined that I would be an actor. I was just trying to put off getting a job. When I went to study drama, a friend of mine Garry Crystal [an actor turned documentary maker] got into Webber Douglas [a London drama school] and I thought, ‘I should give that a crack.’”

Although he has worked steadily throughout his career, it was his role as Lady Mary’s fast car-driving love interest in Downton Abbey that really propelled him to people’s attention. “I had asked to be part of it a few years before and it hadn’t worked out.” (Interesting. I could see him in the role Dan Stevens took and eventually abandoned, having his character written out when the series became unexpectedly popular and kept being recommissioned.) “Then I happened to be doing a job with Michelle Dockery [Lady Mary] and we had a laugh. She said, ‘Would you like to come and marry me in Downton?’ I love her so much and I thought what a brilliant giggle that would be.” You see what I mean? These things just happen to him.

Downton Abbey was a job he loved as it was forty-five minutes from his front door. Clearly, family matters. “It’s not easy,” he says, when I mention the challenges of juggling family and career, “But I’m very blessed to have an amazing wife who encourages me to get out of the house. You do feel a bit bad about being away. And I haven’t taken certain jobs when they’ve said, We need you here for six months. I think it’s fine to say: ‘I don’t feel the need to do that.’ I feel like the family is a great litmus test against a script. If you feel like the work is going to take you away from your family, it had better be worth it.”

What’s the secret of a happy marriage? “A good cellar. Somewhere you can store wine. And not being in each other’s pockets the whole time. You have to have something for yourself. I’ve always had a hobby. When the kids go to school, I go fishing. Sophie used to ride a lot when she was a child and she recently got back into that. So we have a bit of fun on the side,” he laughs. Mostly their life is happily boring, he adds, “We stay in and have friends around.” He is a boxset and Netflix binger and recently got heavily into the Jason Bateman series Ozark.

He is also a big fan of golf, which is apparently a good way to meet Jamie Dornan. I may have to take it up. “My major passion is the Dunhill Links.” You’re losing me a bit here, Matthew, but go on. “I was invited to play the European tour event this year at St Andrews with Jamie Dornan and that was joyous.” Yes, that bit of it is joyous. “My dream is to get to a four handicap like I had when I was sixteen. Now it’s seven. But as Jamie says, ‘I’ve never actually seen you play to that handicap.’” (For anyone who doesn’t know about golf, this is a pretty damn good handicap. If you get to zero you’re a pro.)

He clearly thinks it’s important to have other things in his life besides acting. I wonder if The Crown will change his profile completely and propel him to a level where he won’t be able to play so much golf. “Any time you’re in something that big, it can’t harm you,” he says, “But I’m hardly Benedict [Cumberbatch]. I’m very lucky. I’ve had some sort of niche. I’m not sure what it is. With Benedict you can point to Sherlock as the part when people went “Wow” and now he’s riding very high. God bless him for it, he’s a good friend. I’m aiming for longevity. Just as long as I can pay the mortgage, I’m happy. You can be as ambitious as you want but you’re very lucky if something lands in your lap that a bigger actor hasn’t taken. My ambition is to work with great scripts and great directors.” He pauses. “But I hate talking about it. It makes me sound like an arse.”

No, it doesn’t. It makes him sound like a normal person who just wants to do well. A normal person in an incredibly attractive package who is very good at portraying rather delightful aristocrats. Even if he claims that’s all a bit of an accident. “I’m not a “port out, starboard home” sort of guy,” he shrugs, referring to the expression that originally gave “posh” its name (meaning people who could afford to go on cruises), “But it has turned out to be my bread and butter.” Long may he feast on it.

The Crown Season 2 is available on Netflix now

Matthew Goode lords it up as Snowdon in The Crown

The Times November 25th 2017 – Andrew Billen

The outspoken actor is going up in the world — from Downton Abbey to playing Princess Margaret’s husband. Andrew Billen meets him.

When I interviewed Lord Snowdon 11 years ago for this paper he was much offended by our photographer’s assistant wearing a cap inside his house. It was evidently a breach of etiquette and, I am pretty sure, of the respect he felt due one of Britain’s leading photographers — and a former husband of Princess Margaret. The encounter ended with a ticking-off and Snowdon sneeringly hanging his cap up for him.

Now I am sitting in a London hotel room in front of the actor playing Snowdon in season two of Netflix’s The Crown. And Matthew Goode is wearing a hat, probably the one he has in ITV’s The Wine Show, the programme in which he and his mate Matthew Rhys josh and gush over vintages brought to them in a “hilltop Italian villa” — a for-real version of Brydon and Coogan’s The Trip. The bibulous old rogue Snowdon would have appreciated the wine and the banter, but what would he have said about his future impersonator’s ever-on hat?

“He was a nightmare,” says Goode, who admits to rather liking Snowdon. “I spoke to one of the guys who used to help him when he was a photographer, and he said, ‘I can’t use the expletive, but it describes an area of a woman’s body — that’s who he was.’ It was so annoying. He could be charming and brilliant, then in two seconds’ time behave like the most disgusting person in the entire world.”

Snowdon was 76 when I met him and although he had been divorced from Margaret for nearly 30 years, he still behaved like minor royalty. His servants, I noted, called him m’lud. In the period depicted in The Crown, however, Snowdon was New Britain on the march, storming the palace gates to modernise the monarchy. That early model, the pre-peerage Tony Armstrong-Jones, might even have admired Goode’s hat.

Having once compared Margaret to a Jewish manicurist (he was part Jewish himself), he would certainly have enjoyed Goode’s outspokenness, a trait that has got the actor into trouble in interviews before — which may be why his publicist is sitting behind me. She keeps her counsel, however, probably having already realised that Goode’s chance of appearing in the next honours list is about as likely as The Crown ushering in a republic.

A file of background notes passed on by The Crown’s producers persuaded Goode that Snowdon’s faults were sourced in an unhappy childhood. His mother, Anne Messel, showed him little affection, referring to him as her “ugly son”, doling out her love instead to the two boys from her second, longer-lasting marriage to an earl. He was sent to boarding school at eight and at 16, while at Eton, contracted polio (there is a touching moment in The Crown when he hides his stick when Margaret turns up at his studio). Anne, rather than nurse him at home, packed him off to Liverpool Royal Infirmary, but she never visited him.

“Exactly what that kind of damage does to a child I have no idea, but emotionally and psychologically, quite a lot, I would imagine,” says Goode. “I think it’s why he married Princess Margaret. I think he did it to please his mother rather than himself.”

Demonstrating that he was good enough to marry into royalty? “It’s far more complicated than that, I’m sure, but it’s one of the solutions.”

The Snowdons were soon into an 18-year marriage notable for its private rowing and public putdowns. Yet, says Goode, the royal family loved their new recruit and always blamed Margaret for any trouble. “He was terribly funny as well. So with this incredibly acerbic, nasty, vitriolic, spiteful side comes this flamboyant, wonderfully debonair, extremely funny, witty man.”

The pair, he summarises, were “very charismatic, very smart and vile”, but what we can be sure of was that the sex between them was spectacularly good — although not good enough to dissuade their lusty libidos from straying beyond marriage. Soon both were having affairs. Within weeks of the marriage, another woman, Camilla Fry, had given birth to Snowdon’s illegitimate daughter, sired, the show suggests, during a three-in-a-bed encounter with her and her bisexual husband, Jeremy.

“When I first met Noo,” Goode says, referring to Vanessa Kirby, who plays Margaret, by her nickname, “I was quite terrified because I was a fan of the first series. I was a little star-struck, I suppose, and I thought it might make for uncomfortable love scenes, but we ended up just finding it hilarious. It was a really good giggle. She’s brilliant. She’s really dynamic as an actress and really fun to work with because she’ll bat it back. She listens, really listens, and responds.”

Perhaps it is because of their rapport that they manage to convey how alike the princess and her parvenu husband were. They were control freaks (that cap business) and poisonous to those who would not be controlled. They were rebels, but also lovers of status. As Goode points out, Armstrong-Jones may have been the first commoner in 40 years to marry the daughter of a monarch, but he was also dead posh. In fact, Goode’s dialect coach encouraged him to “dial back” the vowels, lest people found them confusing.

Since his breakthrough role as wealthy Tom in Woody Allen’s Match Point in 2005, and certainly after his Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited three years later, Goode has played mainly posh boys. He was brought up in Devon the son of a geologist and his wife, a nurse, but did go to a private day school. Yet Goode is not quite acting aristocracy and since this cannot be because of his talent, or his looks — dark hair, blue eyes, 6ft 2in — this may be something to do with his habit of speaking his mind. In an interview in 2010 he complained about being left with “nowhere to go” by the director of Brideshead. When Tom Ford’s excellent A Single Man came out, he criticised the Weinsteins for featuring Julianne Moore rather than him with Colin Firth in the advertising, thus downplaying the central gay relationship. In 2013 he said he had been working “a lot of scale”, meaning the minimum rate.

Then, on This Morning last year, he said he did not think the modern Bond films were working as well as the old ones. The papers, which had tipped him as Daniel Craig’s successor, declared he had blown his chances.

“I’m way over the hill, darling, what are you talking about?” he responds, although he is 39 and only a few years older than Craig when he started. “I didn’t mean it in a bad way.” What he meant was that there could be two Bond franchises, one contemporary Bond and another set in the Sixties. “It’s just an idea. But apparently you can’t have an opinion.”

Recent years have been kinder to him professionally. In 2014 he joined Downton Abbey as Henry Talbot, the racing diver who sped off with Lady Mary. Around the same time he won a regular gig on The Good Wife in America. The Wine Show is about to return to ITV, with Goode joined by a new drinking buddy, James Purefoy. There are, of course, still disappointments. Cast as a morphine-addicted ex-public schoolboy in Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence, Goode now finds that the three-parter has been pulled from the BBC’s Christmas schedules after sexual allegations against his co-star Ed Westwick (who robustly denies them).

Goode says there are two ways of looking at it. The first is that the BBC has spared the cast some awkward interview questions. “But some would also say that they should have stood by Ed. Possibly. I mean, I don’t know. I’m not the controller of the BBC.”

So, is he in favour of the postponement? “I’m not really in favour of anything because I don’t have to make that decision. I believe you’re innocent until proven guilty.”

But has the BBC prejudged the matter by pulling the show? “No, not now, because there are three allegations now.”

Goode has lived with the mother of his three children, Sophie Dymoke, for 12 years. When she became pregnant with their first daughter, she gave up her life in the fashion industry in New York. He was thrilled to be able to return with her to film The Good Wife, but by then her heart was no longer in her career. Is he guilty about that?

“Of course I am. Of course I am. She has to put up with living with some f***wit who doesn’t really live in reality occasionally and has some slight psychological problems occasionally through work. She’s retrained as an interior designer and she’s so talented at it.”

What psychological problems? “Well, this [show] is part of it. If you tie all of your hopes to the net product of your work, then you’re going to get depressed because sometimes you feel like you’re working really well and then you watch it and you go, ‘I am terrible.’ I don’t watch my stuff any more.”

I assure him he is excellent in The Crown, but it was a one-off gig. Series three will be recast with older actors (he thinks Paul Bettany would be a good choice). “Peter Morgan [the writer] said, ‘I’ve just written the most fantastic argument for Tony and Margaret in series three.’ I was, like, ‘Oh good. What a thrill for the next guy.’ ”

He got the part days after Lord Snowdon died in January this year, 15 years after Margaret. His death avoids any unpleasant collisions in restaurants and Goode hopes that none of his children will want to spit in his face. He reports that Matt Smith was introduced to Prince William at a function before the first series was shown. The prince said he had heard he was playing his grandfather, Prince Philip. “And Matt was, like, ‘Yeah, yeah, anything to say about that?’ And William just said, ‘LEGEND.’ ”

“I think as we come towards where we are now, it will be slightly uneasy and slightly problematic. I think it could open up a few wounds that people are still a little bit grieving over and feeling complicated about. Poor old Charles is probably going to get it in the neck. Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m out of there already.”

In one way, however, Lord Snowdon did members of the royal family a favour. The show’s slogan is that “the crown always wins”. In the Snowdon case, monarchic tradition was unable to prevent Margaret and her husband from divorcing and pursuing happiness with others. Perhaps without their example, Charles, Anne and Andrew might still be all miserably married. The Snowdons were trailblazers!

“Were they the first? They were. Yes, they were! So, the trailblazers. Trailblazers is a word that suits them extremely well,” Goode says enthusiastically.

And for that, let us all take off our caps to Lord Snowdon.
The Crown series two is available on Netflix from December 8


Entertainment Weekly  Deborah Harkness on her upcoming A Discovery of Witches adaptation: ‘I walked onto the set and I cried’  MAUREEN LEE LENKER AUGUST 22, 2017

[Extract] Was Matthew Goode someone you ever thought of when you writing? Were you a fan of his from his previous work?
I am a huge fan of his because I am really struck, when I look at his body of work, by the extraordinary range of roles he’s played, both on television and on film. That takes a certain kind of courage and integrity as an actor to be able to do that. Of course when I started writing it was 2008, so Matthew Goode was quite a bit younger than he is now. The reality is, decades can pass between a book being written and it being made into a television show or a film. I had very clear visions of them in my mind, but I really resisted the casting urge. And then come to the moment, Matthew Goode is the perfect age to play this character, he is so perfect in every way — hearing him say the lines, watching him act with Teresa, the layers of meaning he brings to it; it’s astonishing. When we got to the moment when we were casting, I said, “What about Matthew Goode?” I will take credit for saying, “He would be perfect, he is my Matthew, he would be great.” For him to be available, for him to be willing to take on the role, all of those things, it was almost too good to be true and you sort of have to pinch yourself.
Yeah, I mean he has an appreciation of wine just like the character as evidenced by his television series with Matthew Rhys.
I know — it’s uncanny, is what it is. Again, it’s like having Bad Wolf make a book by Harkness into a show. He is absolutely perfect for it in every respect. And he’s a damn good actor. I mean really, he is a damn good actor. And what I always say to my readers, they say, who do you want to play the role? And I say, “a good actor” and I got it in spades with Matthew Goode.
With both him and Teresa, what most excites you about them? And what clinched it for you with the two of them?
Well, with Matthew it really was a combination of knowing his work, knowing the range of his work, the complexity of characters he brought to the screen. Obviously, physically he’s very like the character. And again just being able to really envision him inhabiting that role, that was the clincher. Teresa, similarly, I had seen in her Hacksaw Ridge, and I had been really struck by her performance. I was shocked that she was Australian because she was such a convincing American. Obviously that was a period piece, so seeing pictures of her today in a contemporary sort of setting, I was just so struck by her warmth and her intelligence and her vivacity. I could just immediately see her as Diana. She has this amazing range and this quiet authority in the way that she performs. And she just lives inside her characters and quite difficult moments and quite intense moments. Then I saw a chemistry reel — it was just breathtaking to see them acting a very, very small scene with no props, nothing around them, just the strength of their own acting abilities. I was absolutely clear they were the right pair to play Matthew and Diana.