Matthew Goode has a tough act to follow. Although the 30-year-old actor has played an undercover British agent in “Chasing Liberty,” a hard-boiled American grifter in “The Lookout” and a posh Londoner in Woody Allen’s “Match Point,” he’s tackling a role made famous by Jeremy Irons.

Goode stars as lonely, middle-class Oxford student Charles Ryder in the big-screen adaptation of “Brideshead Revisited.” Irons played Ryder in the 1981 miniseries, opposite Anthony Andrews as privileged classmate Lord Sebastian Flyte.

The film is based on Evelyn Waugh’s epic 1920s-set novel. Goode said playing an iconic role in a period piece such as this is a rite of passage as an actor.

“I haven’t done very many, and some of the stuff I have done you get cast to play an extension of yourself,” said the classically trained actor. “It’s all very … almost two-dimensional. With this, the source material is just so wonderful. To some extent, it is more theatrical doing period.

“There are few contemporary scripts that have the level and depth (that this does) thematically. It is taken from one of the best novels from the 20th century,” he said.

As for Goode, his sparse IMDB.com biography tells it all. He respects privacy. “There are levels of ambition in today’s society and celebrity,” Goode said. “I like the work, and I feel if this is the means to get a nice house in the country with a big vegetable patch in the back (I’m for it).”

And where exactly would he like that country house?  “Somewhere in England,” he said without elaborating.

As for pubbing and clubbing, he doesn’t talk about that much either.

Goode life is tough to find