Press Archive 2014

An Actor Dashing Across the Atlantic – New York Times – 31st December 2014

Credit…Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

By Dec. 31, 2014

Lovers of “The Good Wife” found the death last spring of Will Gardner, everyone’s favorite sexily arrogant lawyer, shocking and traumatic. But even as they adjusted to the cold new reality (Will was never coming back), they were struck by a frisson of something that felt, inappropriately, like delight.It arrived in the form of Finn Polmar, a sweet and morally upright prosecutor whose entrance just as Will was exiting provided solace to both the audience and the grieving characters in the show. If this sudden attraction seemed disloyal — Will is dead; long live Someone Other Than Will — then so be it. As Alicia Rancilio of The Associated Press tweeted some months later: “I miss Will Gardner, but I do love Finn Polmar.”

What does Finn, a.k.a. the British actor Matthew Goode, make of all this?“You can’t replace Will — you can’t replace a character who’s that influential and that loved,” Mr. Goode said recently. “But what they have tried to do with Finn was make him be one of the few people so far on the series who doesn’t have hidden agendas, who is sort of morally unambiguous.”

Mr. Goode, 36, who was enjoying steak frites at a restaurant on the Lower East Side during this discussion, took a sip of his rosé and let a wicked smile cross his face. “Although you might find out he’s a coke dealer in a couple of weeks,” he said. “Things can flip quite quickly on this show.”


Matthew Goode  Interviewed by Matthew Rhys for Interview Magazine  – Published December 26, 2014

The Imitation Game, which opened in wide release yesterday, puts the 36-year-old’s natural talents to good use. Goode plays Hugh Alexander, a former chess prodigy and the leader of a small group of mathematicians trying to break the German codes at Bletchley Park during World War Two. Alexander’s leadership is challenged, however, when another mathematician joins the group: the film’s protagonist Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch). Where Turing is awkward, blunt, and struggling to keep his homosexuality a secret, Alexander is smooth, sociable, and slightly caddish.

Just before Christmas, Goode sat down for a Guinness or two with his friend, Welsh actor Matthew Rhys. Though the Matthews initially met in London, both are currently based in New York for work—Rhys for his FX cold war spy series The Americans; Goode for his CBS legal drama The Good Wife.

MATTHEW RHYS: In case you’re wondering what we’re doing, there’s a small jar of crayons on the table at the Ear Inn, and I’m tracing the recording devices as if they were the victims of gruesome murders.

RHYS: The critically acclaimed Deathwatch, if you don’t mind.

GOODE: So I heard about you from him. Laurence just loved you immediately and was saying how talented you are and if anyone should be a fucking movie star, it should be Matthew Rhys.

RHYS: Yes, well people I meet, I tell them to say that.

GOODE: From then on I was like, “I must have a drink with this guy.” And then we kept meeting each other at costume fittings and it took about another eight years until we did Death Comes to Pemberley [2013].

RHYS: Death Comes to Pemberley for the BBC. I sort of knew that it would be like working with Peter O’Toole, and I wasn’t wrong!

GOODE: It was a giggle. It really was. And then Anna Maxwell Martin.

RHYS: Who? Who?

GOODE: Who was joyous.

RHYS: Joyous. But on the first day, we were all turning up in sort of strange places in Dalston for rehearsals.

GOODE: I was slightly late.

RHYS: Were you?

GOODE: Yeah, half an hour. I had that sinking feeling of, “Oh, I’m going to be in trouble the first day.” I pride myself on being on time. Wasn’t I here early today?

RHYS: He was! He is as incredibly punctual as he is tall and striking. But it was suggested at I think 11:28 am that we should possibly have a pint.

GOODE: Just a little quick trip to the pub.

RHYS: Something to take the edge of the first day nerves.

GOODE: Pubs around there are really nice and historical. It was more of a factual investigation.

RHYS: Oh yeah, it was. You even knew one pub that served a particular type of beer, and I was incredibly impressed by that. That summer was a bit of an Enid Blyton novel to me. Sadly we didn’t solve any crimes. The only real crime was what we were doing on camera. [laughs]

GOODE: I was sort of there and nipping back to see the children. Whereas you were just playing Darcy and therefore…

RHYS: He’s really not saying anything. He’s trying to look as moody as possible.

GOODE: You did very well.

RHYS: Thank you, darling.

GOODE: With big sideburns.

RHYS: Massive. Tell me, Matthew Goode.

GOODE: Let’s start this off.

RHYS: Let’s start at the beginning.

GOODE: Go on.

RHYS: When your agent approached you with TheImitation Game, did you think it was a sort of game show to do with impersonations?

GOODE: I…[laughs]

GOODE: Actually it wasn’t my agent that approached me. It was—

RHYS: —I don’t really care. Next question, next question. [laughs]

GOODE: You dick.

RHYS: Who approached you?

GOODE: Benedict [Cumberbatch] phoned me. I was aware of it because the script had been hanging around; it was going to be done by a big Hollywood star, whose name shall not be mentioned.

RHYS: Who?

GOODE: Leo! Leonard. Sir Leonardo Di-Caprio.

RHYS: To play the Keira Knightley part?

GOODE: To play the Keira Knightley part. Then he decided he didn’t want to do it, and it all sort of fell apart. Then suddenly I’m taking the kids out of the car with Sophie shopping and Benedict phones and says, “Do you want to play the part of Hugh?” And I was like, “Yep. I think that would be great. I’ll just get the kids in and get them fed. Can you phone back?”

RHYS: Welcome to the world of show business, everyone. This is how it works: Unloading kids you get parts in huge movies. How did you know Benedict?

GOODE: Benedict, I’ve known for years. One of my first jobs I played the heroin-taking brother of Inspector Lindley in the The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, with the lovely Nat Parker. My junkie girlfriend—on the job, not in real life—

RHYS: Was Benedict Cumberbatch?

GOODE: Was Cumberbatch’s missus at the time. So at the wrap party, we went to that place on Oxford Street that has that disco dance floor. You know, the one that flashes.

RHYS: Yes.

GOODE: A lot of wrap parties at the time used to go there. It was cans of Red Stripe—that was all you could drink.

RHYS: Separately, what was your favorite wrap party and why?

GOODE: That was a pretty good one because Ben’s now a friend. But wrap parties don’t tend to be thatamazing.

RHYS: They’re always shit.

GOODE: Because it’s a bit more than sad.

RHYS: What does wrap stand for?


RHYS: Wind, reel, and print.

GOODE: Oh, of course! Dammit, you’re already looking smarter than me.

RHYS: That was my master plan. No, sorry. I keep interrupting you. This is not a very good interview.

GOODE: It’s a great interview.

RHYS: Yes, so you met him then and you’ve been friends ever since.

GOODE: Yeah. This is the first time we’ve worked together. We’ve always just drunk together and celebrated each other’s successes together.


GOODE: He’s had many more, which means he has been buying more for me, which is great. He pops around and sees the family. I haven’t seen him as much recently because obviously he’s been in far flung places in the world.

GOODE: [laughs] Like Cardiff. No, he didn’t do Doctor Who. That was Sherlock.

RHYS: That was a test and Matthew Goode passed!

GOODE: “IMDb Hero: M. Goode.”

RHYS: When you read the part of Alexander, what were your first thoughts?

GOODE: My first thoughts were…

RHYS: Which shoes? Which suits? Cigarettes?

GOODE: All of those. I do like to get the smoking in in a period film, because they all were.

RHYS: Chimneys.

GOODE: I remember thinking, “It’s a shame that there wasn’t more maths, ‘cause it would have been nice to know a little bit more about the bomb and the machine.”

RHYS: I agree.

GOODE: Obviously if you’re playing some of the smartest men in the world, you want to sound really smart.

RHYS: Yes. What sort of maths research did you do?

GOODE: Not a lot because it wasn’t required.

RHYS: Did you do sums and things like that?

GOODE: What we looked at was how to make a bomb—how the bomb was put together. Because Matthew Beard, who’s a lovely man, brought in some books and we would try to wrap our brains around some of the ideas of how the machine was calibrated and what it was about. It ran on algorithms, which is how Google is run.

RHYS: And the world, I think.

GOODE: Which was very fascinating but slightly over our heads considering we were struggling to do The Guardian crossword at the same time.

RHYS: So if there’s one thing you want tell people that possibly isn’t in the film, but you want to scream and shout about, what would it be?

GOODE: One thing that I love is, when I was a lad, I’d go and get my school uniform from a place called Pinder and Tuckwell in Exeter. It was one of those old-school systems where you would get a chit—a bill—and they’d put the money in a small capsule in a compressed air tube. That was the best bit about getting the old school uniform. I always thought, “I’d love to have that in my house.” So anyway, Hugh Alexander, when he was approached to work at Bletchley Park he had been working for the John Lewis [department store] partnership. He was the head of engineering for the company. And when he went to Bletchley, he put in that system.

RHYS: For John Lewis, the amount of tubes you’d need to circumnavigate the store would be huge. And the amount of compression needed would be massive. How would that work?

GOODE: I would imagine in a back room somewhere there may be some workman peddling furiously.

RHYS: Hamster-like.


GOODE: I’m trying not to mess up. I don’t want to say something that I think is funny—

RHYS: And have it be misconstrued.

GOODE: Yes. But then again, I don’t want to be someone who seems like they take everything too seriously. It’s the old RSC thing of when they bow, there’s this look on their faces like, “I bled for you.”

RHYS: Which is how I often regard you.

GOODE: When was it that you first started enjoying my company?

RHYS: I think it was the Inspector Lindley Mysteries. That’s when I started enjoying you. “Who’s this junkie?”

GOODE: I think Peaches [2000] was the first time I heard of you.

RHYS: When you bit into one? The first time you experienced the fruit?

GOODE: I’d heard about these two Welsh blades living up in East London—you and Ioan [Gruffudd]. Highly regarded.

RHYS: By the Welsh.

GOODE: But very handsome and talented and about to take over the world. Then you were forever breaking hearts—my sister is completely in love with you because of Brothers & Sisters.

RHYS: Good. When will I meet your sister?

GOODE: Soon as.

RHYS: Talk to me about fishing.


RHYS: For compliments.

GOODE: [laughs] I actually don’t like them. Don’t you find that that’s a very difficult thing to take, particularly in the theater?

RHYS: Compliments?

GOODE: Yeah. It’s a really nice thing to do, but I find compliments quite uncomfortable.

RHYS: Why? Is it because you doubt the sincerity of them?

GOODE: No. I suppose it’s embarrassing.

RHYS: It is embarrassing. I don’t think it sits well with our national psyche.

GOODE: No, it’s not a very British thing to do.

RHYS: Are you slightly riddled with insecurities and self-doubt?


RHYS: Do you doubt your own talent?

GOODE: Massively.

RHYS: Do you think that’s something to do with it?

GOODE: Probably.

RHYS: When you take a compliment you think, “You’re lying! You’re lying! I’m terrible! I’m just getting away with it!” Do you feel like you’re getting away with it?

GOODE: I suddenly doubt them because, clearly, if they’re complimenting me they don’t have a clue of what they’re talking about. It’s a wonderful profession. I don’t know about you, but I imagine you’re the same. I love the job. I love people. There’s a line in—

RHYS: —The Dresser?


RHYS: Whitnail?

GOODE: Peter O’Toole on stage.

GOODE: Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, where he talks about people that go to the races, and he’s like, “Criminals! Bastards!” etc. and then, “And exceptionally nice people.” And that’s how I always think of it.

RHYS: We’re utter vagabonds. We do terrible things and we do this weird, strange job, but what I find is there’s not much judgment in our world. There’s always acceptance.

GOODE: You mean behavior rather than performance?

RHYS: Both. How was your experience working on The Generation Game?

GOODE: My sister used to be on The Generation Game.

RHYS: Which sister?

GOODE: I’ve only got one.

RHYS: Oh then I have met your sister!

GOODE: You met her on Skype.

RHYS: No. We had a day with them. We went to Bushwick.

GOODE: Oh yes. [laughs] Crikey. I remember that.

RHYS: How was your experience on The Imitation Game?

GOODE: We’d just had Teddy [Goode’s youngest daughter]. I had just finished this film called Pressure—I was literally filming my last day in Aberdeen. It had been a really great shoot with Danny Huston, who’s a joy. I got a phone call saying, “I’m going into labor,” and I was like, “Oh my God!” So I spoke to my director, Ron [Scalpello], and Ron was like, “Shit. Right. Okay. We don’t need you in this scene, so strike that. Let’s film you out now and we’ll be done in half an hour.” Which is incredibly kind. So he shot me out. I got on a plane from Aberdeen down to London Heathrow. Got there. And then about two hours after I arrived, little Teddy was born.

RHYS: You made it? Brilliant.

GOODE: And then about three days later, I was doing rehearsals for The Imitation Game, which was quite brutal.

RHYS: No sleep.

GOODE: Well, [Goode’s wife] Soph had it a lot worse obviously.

RHYS: Did your mother really direct amateur dramatics?

GOODE: She really did. She still does.

RHYS: So you grew up with drama in your life. Did she introduce you to the classics?

GOODE: No. Not unless you count Wind and the Willowsat the local village theater.

RHYS: That is a fucking classic. How dare you! Let’s go back to fishing.

GOODE: I love fishing.

RHYS: When did you first start fishing?

GOODE: I will never forget it. I used to go to Wales for canal holidays. When I first started fishing, I was on the Brecon Canal in Wales. We pulled up in our canal boat and Dad got out these two maroon, telescopic fishing rods, and put a reel on.

RHYS: Was your father a fisherman?

RHYS: What is it about fishing?

GOODE: It’s quite exciting—it’s like acting, some bits are quite exciting and then there’s moments where you’re not doing anything or nothing is happening.

RHYS: Is it like what Winston Churchill said about trench warfare?

GOODE: Probably. What did he say?

RHYS: Something like—

GOODE: “It’s not very nice out here”?

RHYS: “Long periods of boredom punctuated by short bursts of blind terror.”

GOODE: Yes. I think if we were fishing for great white sharks it would have been quite terrifying.

RHYS: Would you call yourself an old-fashioned person or a traditionalist? Do you have old-fashioned qualities?

GOODE: Aren’t they the same thing?


GOODE: I think I’m quite an old-fashioned person. What are you?

RHYS: I’m more of a traditionalist than an old-fashioned person. [both laugh]

GOODE: I think we would have both preferred to live in the ‘40s and done the job as it was then.

RHYS: Yes. The army?

GOODE: The army first, and then gone into [acting].

RHYS: Would you have liked to join the army?

GOODE: I would’ve done. [laughs] I always say to Soph, “I would’ve been great in the army back in the day.” And she’s like, “You would have been absolutely terrible.”

RHYS: What qualities do you think would’ve made you good in the army?

GOODE: Loyalty, definitely.

RHYS: Sense of tradition.

GOODE: Always. Old-fashioned kind of person.

RHYS: Leadership?

GOODE: I think I’ve got leadership skills.

RHYS: Do you follow orders well?

GOODE: I can if I love my…

RHYS: Country?

GOODE: If I totally get the person who’s giving them. That’s what we do effectively for a job. If there’s some muppet who’s come in there who doesn’t know his ass from his elbow, then it’s very difficult to go, “Yeah, no problem. I’ll do what you want.”

RHYS: Have you ever punched a director?

GOODE: Never.

RHYS: Another actor?

GOODE: Not on a job.

RHYS: Ooh. Do go on. Or not.

GOODE: No, I don’t think I will.

RHYS: Have you ever punched an actress?

GOODE: Several.

RHYS: Did you punch Laurence Fox?

GOODE: No! I didn’t. I used to live with him. We get on like a house on fire. Me and Matthew Rhys are going to do a show about wine.

GOODE: Vin vin.

RHYS: And it will all take place in a van.

GOODE: I’m really excited about it.

RHYS: So am I.

GOODE: But I am a little worried about—

RHYS: Being released from Downton Abbey, which leads us perfectly onto Downton Abbey! How did that come about?

GOODE: Before we get there, I think some people are brilliant presenters. It’s an art form. And I don’t know how easily I will glide into it. I’m going to be leaning on you.

RHYS: I think solo presenting is different than if you’re doing something with a mate. We’ll just bounce of each other. What did you want to be growing up?

GOODE: I really wanted to be a train driver. But then I was upset that there weren’t trains that could talk to you. Then I wanted to be a sportsman.

RHYS: How big a part does sport play in your life?

GOODE: It used to play a phenomenal part in my life, because I used to play a lot of county sport, a lot of sport for my school. I love team sports. Talk about being with the boys. I love the camaraderie. That’s why I like acting.

RHYS: Is that why you would’ve wanted to be in the army?

GOODE: Yes. Similar. All fighting for one cause. The unfortunate thing about that is that acting is not all fighting for one cause, when it’s at its best it is. I can’t bear things like “he steals his scenes,” because it sets it up as being this competitive thing rather than serving the project. I really feel that I’m not an actor who is going to try to standout more than just to serve the project.

RHYS: Yeah, you are good at that. You’re always about the team.

GOODE: I’m a team player. I don’t like it when somebody acts up. I’ve only ever had one other actor, who I’ve never gotten on with, and it was just a very upsetting experience and we didn’t speak for, like, five weeks. I won’t mention who it was.

RHYS: Write his name down in crayon.

GOODE: I will not write their name down. I will actually, for you.

RHYS: Okay. [As if reading] Bill Nigh-y.

GOODE: [laughs] It’s not Bill Nighy!

RHYS: He’s just written it down on the table and I don’t even know who that is.

GOODE: There you go. Doesn’t matter now. Let me color it in—in blue, because that’s how they made me feel.

GOODE: It was a film.

RHYS: And were they trying to steal scenes?

GOODE: They were just very poorly behaved and that is as much as needs to be mentioned.

RHYS: Oh, I do know who that is!

GOODE: Also, sometimes people fuck up. So, if I saw him again now, I’d like to go in and go, “How’s it going? Hope you’re well.” I wouldn’t necessarily want to work with them on a job again, but you’ve got to pony up. It’s just a job. It was a miserable job for me. It’s all done and dusted with and I’d have a drink with him again. If they’re still a dick, then—

RHYS: Punch them!

GOODE: Then you leap on them, in true Welsh style.

RHYS: Hugh Alexander. Was he known as a bit of a charming ladies man?

GOODE: No. I think he was known as very urbane and a very smart man. He loved doing the night shift; he worked more than anyone, I think, and he slept little. He loved cryptography. Actually after the war he continued to be the head of the cryptology division for another 18 years and I think it put him into an early grave. But he was a very nice man. He was married to a lovely woman called Edith. I felt slightly uncomfortable portraying him the way that I did, which is obviously to offset how Alan Turing is—to make Hugh seem more of an alpha male, more of a charmer. That’s how they wrote it, so that’s how I played it. But I felt slightly sorry. I hope the family don’t mind that he looks like a raging womanizing bastard.

RHYS: I don’t think he came off as that.

GOODE: No. Well, he certainly came across as a womanizer. But actually there was a lot of flirting going on because they didn’t know if they were going to live. Do a lot of people know that you’re real name is Matthew Evans?

RHYS: Yes. Downton Abbey. Very exciting.

GOODE: Why can’t we get some crisps? We should have lunch after this.

RHYS: Any fears about joining Downton?

GOODE: No. Well, I did have them. The main fear was Maggie Smith, who I still haven’t met yet. But I hear she’s absolutely wonderful, so hopefully she won’t terrify me.

RHYS: Do you hear often about how charming you are? Be honest.

GOODE: Not from my wife, who I spend most of my time with. Last I was having a phone conversation with someone, and she said, “You’re being so uncharming.” She felt a little bit like I was letting myself down.

RHYS: Because people are so accustomed to you being so charming? Because you are. You’re the word personified.

RHYS: Stop deflecting! This is your interview.

GOODE: I’m not deflecting; it has to be a two-way thing.


GOODE: I’ve done this before.

RHYS: With who?

GOODE: Scarlett.

RHYS: Johansson?

GOODE: Yeah.

RHYS: For what?

GOODE: For Match Point. I ended up doing this wonderful magazine Interview, and she interviewed me. All the photographs and stuff were I think of me, but it was a bit more back-and-forth.

RHYS: Well you would, wouldn’t you? With Scarlett Johansson.

GOODE: She’s very nice. She’s a very lovely girl. I haven’t seen her in a long time.

RHYS: She’s married now. With a kid.



Margaritas And Cumberlove With Matthew Goode – Elle 1st December 2014

How the ‘Imitation Game’ star became real-life besties with the Internet’s boyfriend.


When Matthew Goode, who stars as Benedict Cumberbatch’s dapper rival in The Imitation Game, suggests that we get an 11 A.M. drink at The Egg Shop on New York’s Lower East Side, I’m impressed. Rarely, if ever, do the guys we feature in this column select the establishment. And a pre-noon cocktail hour? Also noteworthy.

And rarer yet is the subject who, upon your arrival, is found hunched over a plate of sunny side ups at the bar. If it weren’t for the shockingly blue eyes peeking out from behind a pair of smart lenses, I might have easily mistaken him for a handsome regular. And no wonder: Not only does Goode live nearby with his family—actress Sophie Dymoke and daughters Matilda, 5, and Teddy, 14 months—the establishment’s proprietor also introduced the actor to his wife. So, aside from a pub in Hampstead where he likes to hole up with famous buds ranging from Benedict Cumberbatch to Dominic West, this is about as close to home turf as one can get.

Toward the end of the drink, our mouths newly aflame from the homemade hot sauce in our early bird beverages, I ask him what the deal is with British guys being noticeably standoffish in social settings, anyway. He pauses a moment to think and then narrows his eyes, which have started to pick up flecks of the early winter sun flooding in through the tiny shop’s glass doors. “What British women have figured out is that we lower our standards when we’re drunk,” he says. “So some women just go, ‘Oh. He’s mine!’ And we just go, ‘Okay!'” I hold myself back, but everything in my being is going, He’sminehe’sminehe’sminehe’smine.


Do you usually drink cocktails at 11 A.M.?

Oh yeah. It depends on the job! No, normally only on holiday. That’s the one great thing about summer holiday with kids: It’s one of the only times of the year when you can just go to the fridge after breakfast, crack open a beer, and no one looks at you weird…

Whenever I babysit, I do much better if I’ve had a glass of wine.

You drink so you can get on their level. [Laughs] They’re just little drunk people!

One thing I noticed during “The Imitation Game”—aside from your eyes, which look like they’re blue all the way through…

They’re kind of parrot-like, my eyes. Sometimes they look really green, and sometimes they’re blue. I think it’s a mood thing. It’s strange, isn’t it? I think Benedict’s do that, too. Even more so.

Does everyone ask you about working with him?

They have since we’ve started the press for this, but it’s actually a nice thing to talk about because I’ve known Benedict for 15 years. And I’ve always loved him. He hasn’t changed, but when he broke out, suddenly there were a thousand people screaming…


What is it about him?

I think he’s just really talented. I think it’s the talent. We’ll wait and see—I mean, I don’t want to put too much pressure on him.

I mean, he’s definitely going to be nominated for an Oscar…

I’d be shocked if he wasn’t. I think he has every chance of being the [Laurence] Olivier of our times. He is such a confident performer in theater, too. He can sell out Hamlet faster than anyone else in history.

Now that you mention it, you can kind of tell you are fond of one another in the movie. Do you guys have an antagonistic relationship?

We used to see each other a lot more before he got really big time—and engaged, which is very recent. I can’t wait to go back home and hang out in Hampstead and sit in the corner of a pub with him, but [fame] makes it harder and harder these days. So it kind of just ends up being other peoples’ houses…


During a time like this, when you’re doing tons of press for the same project, do you get sick of talking about yourself?

Actually, most of it’s a real joy because I’m seeing my friends who I haven’t seen in while—like Benedict, Keira [Knightley]—and we’re very aware of the importance of the Alan Turing story.

Like Alan, you’re a product of a posh British school education…

I think Benedict is the poshest—he went to Harrow [School], which is one of the reasons why I met him. My friend was the same year as him. The first time I met Ben, actually, was because I was doing this thing called The Inspector Lynley Mysteries in which I played Lynley’s [Nathaniel Parker] brother. My girlfriend on the show, Olivia Poulet, was Benedict’s girlfriend at the time, so that was how I got to meet him at this dingy club for our wrap party. There was one of those amazing dance floors like Saturday Night Fever. I think Ben and I just sort of met each other over a dance [does an awkward head bob] and [in mock strain over what I believe are supposed to be loud speakers] were like, ‘Want another beer?’

That’s amazing. Oh! I don’t want to waste too much of your time talking about Benedict.

Oh, you’re fine! I’ve got a bit of time after this.


Ah. I actually have another one of these.

With who? Oh, so this a drink and run?

With Mahershala Ali, who plays Remy Denton on “House of Cards.”

Oh, he’s quite good! And I love her—

Robin Wright?

Yes. Robin Wright Penn. Or, wait. We don’t say the ‘Penn’ anymore, do we?

We don’t. She was actually just engaged to another one of my favorite actors: Ben Foster.

I love him! Wait, they broke up? That’s really sad. I was really hopeful about that. I liked that whole younger guy with the older woman thing.


Me too!

But we don’t know why they broke up. The age difference probably had nothing to do with it. I really hope it didn’t. I actually met her post-Sean when she was dating a friend of mine…

I think I’d be so intimidated…

She’s not intimidating at all. She’s really lovely. I met her loads of times. You should do one of these with her. You could stick her in a tuxedo and draw a mustache on her or something.


9 Questions With…Matthew Goode – Backstage – 28th November 2014

Article Image

Photo Source: Stephanie Diani

Backstage chats with “The Imitation Game” and “The Good Wife” actor about co-starring in the Alan Turing biopic opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, his acting crushes, and the epic lie he told to get out of his worst survival job.

Tell us about “The Imitation Game.”
I play Hugh [Alexander], and he’s pulled into Bletchley Park to head up the code-breaking team [during World War II]. Hugh had been a British chess champion twice—although artistic license: They said twice but he won the second one after the war. He’s much more of an alpha male compared to Alan [Turing]. Truly, the main part of our job was to get the atmosphere right and to get a deeper understanding of what it was like. Because they lived at Bletchley, there was no escape. They’d start work at six in the morning and finish at midnight and that was attritional on them.

How did you prep to play Hugh?
I spoke at length with the writer, who had more access to other materials. It was a real collaboration about what we were doing together. We had two weeks of rehearsal, which is very, very rare, and were able to get the feeling of what it would’ve been like to live there together. Myself and [co-stars] Allen [Leech] and Matthew Beard, we’d sit down and try to go through ideas of what the bomb was, and some of the mathematics behind it, and doing crosswords together. Just getting a feeling of camaraderie that I think comes across quite nicely onscreen.

What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started acting?
More technique about how to work with the camera, because I was trained for the stage. I didn’t know what to do in front of the camera—I didn’t get how it worked. I felt like I was unlocking a code. Some of my early work, there were some pretty big performances in there! It’s a learning curve but there’s a bit of a different kind of technique to working in film.

What was your worst survival job?
It was, like, a telesales job where you cold-call people. I think I did it for about two hours and then I was like, I’ve got to get out of here! It’s making me quite upset and I’m not going to be good at this job where you have to lie to people and rip them off—it felt like a scam. So I produced this fake phone call, pretending my agent had phoned and said that I had got the part in the next Steven Spielberg movie. I had to make a real show of it and then everyone in the telesales started getting up and giving me high-fives and hugs. Suddenly I had this huge sense of euphoria and then I walked out in London and thought, Fuck, I’ve got to walk home! I haven’t got any money! It was awful, but luckily a few days later I did get a job. But it wasn’t with Spielberg.

Who do you have an acting crush on?
So many people! When I was up in Toronto recently I realized that Sam Rockwell was going to be coming in a couple of hours after me, so I wrote this note up on the board that said, “Sam, you’re amazing!” So that’s a bit of a crush. I think Sam Rockwell is just brilliant. I reckon also Tom Wilkinson; I just think he’s fabulous. Al Pacino and [Robert] De Niro, good God! My favorites tend to be people who are the Chris Coopers of this world, who are just fantastic and not the tentpole name.

When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
When I got my first job, maybe? Probably? I always had a fascination with it, I always loved it, and I did it at school. My mother was a director of amateur dramatics and so she used to get me and my brother into productions. I’d always been someone who sang in the choir. I was head chorister of my choir at my prep school and we did school plays and bits and bobs. I played lots of sports as well, so it sort of went on the back burner a bit, but by the time I got to 18, I had to get a degree to make my parents happy and I went to the University of Birmingham to study drama. Then a friend of mine got into the Webber Douglas Academy. I thought, I should give that go! Why don’t I give it a crack? I went up to London to audition and managed to get the postgrad course there.

What’s been your most challenging role?
I think playing my first American character, an ex-con on “The Lookout,” was a challenging one to start off with—just trying to trust your instincts and not worry about accents and that sort of thing. Also, working on “Brideshead Revisited,” where you’re the narrator of the story but actually you don’t speak that much in the film. But it’s always a challenge—there are always time constraints, there are always things. It’s what makes it fun.

What is your best/worst audition horror story?
There was an advert very early on when I was just starting to work with Simon Beresford, my agent. I would go out for a lot of adverts, which was a very depressing place to go because there were just lots of very beautiful people, models generally, and you’re asked to do the most stupid things. There was this crisp packet commercial, some chips commercial, and I looked at the brief, the instructions of what they wanted, the script if you will—hardly, though—and it involved having to make out with the crisp packet. In the waiting room, sitting surrounded by all these beautiful people, I’m thinking, They’re never going to fucking give me a job! I was like, I’m just going to go to the loo and then I’ll come back and put myself on tape. I just walked out the door. I’m not saying it’s below me; I was just tense with embarrassment. I just couldn’t do it. Another slow day in the Matthew Goode career! I said to Simon, “I know that some people can make a lot of money doing commercials but please never send me up for one of those again.” Simon was probably like, “This guy just doesn’t want to work!”

Which of your performances has left a lasting mark on you?
You mean scarred me for life? There are a few journalists who’ve stabbed at my heart! I mean, really, I move on pretty quickly. You do a job and then it’s the next thing. I don’t have much time to dwell now that I’ve got two kids. It’s like, “The sailor outfit’s off now, can you just come back to being Dad?” You’re like, “Yep! No problem.”


Code-Sharing: ‘The Good Wife”s Matthew Goode Talks Techies, Nazis, & the Warmth of NY  As well as Alan Turing and the 10,000 rule.

Matthew Goode is asleep in Freemans, or, at least … he’s resting his eyes (and also his head). Mr. Goode, recognizable as Finn Polmar on CBS’ show, The Good Wife, freely admits to taking a nap after a morning spent drinking margaritas for some media thing. He looks suitably abashed in that way only the Brits can look suitably abashed. At least we think he does: he’s almost unrecognizable under a beanie, Harry Potter glasses, and a practically Fagin approach to layers.

Revived by artichoke dip, Mr. Goode chatted about the expat life, the weather (a British obsession) and his role as code-breaker Hugh Alexander in The Imitation Game, the new biopic chronicling the tragic life of early computer scientist Alan Turing, who decrypted the Nazi’s Enigma machine during World War II, but was ingloriously prosecuted for homosexual behavior and sentenced to chemical castration.

New York Observer: The first time I heard about Turing—my reaction was, “It’s insane that this guy isn’t more famous here.” He’s the perfect American story for this moment: the socially awkward, arrogant but brilliant tech wunderkind, like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg.

Matthew Goode: Growing up, because of his homosexuality, his death, it was all pretty hush-hush. You just heard about his work on Enigma. But yes, he fits more of an American archetype. He was very insular, a little bit Asperger’s. Anti-social. He was hemmed in by how much his mind worked.

NYO: People have commented on the movie’s lack of a homosexual love scene . . .

MG: Right, but we didn’t show his death either! And to me, that’s much more of a sensationalistic aspect.

NYO: Suicide by cyanide-laced apple? Yeah, that’s pretty symbolic.

MG: There was a rumor for awhile that this was the apple in Macintosh’s Apple logo. You know, with the bite taken out. I think that was debunked though.

NYO:Sure, Turing might have saved us from the Nazis, but think about how much happier he’d be as a start-up billionaire living in Palo Alto.

MG: All brilliant men with legacies share similar traits. The ones who become important to the world will do so, because I think they spend a lot of time on their own. When you talk about the 10,000 hour rule, they don’t mention how many hours are spent alone.

NYO: Of your 10,000 hours: how much of it do you spend in New York, filming The Good Wife, with its intense 23-episodes-per-season schedule?

MG: Oh, we live here now. I actually live inordinately close to here…I shouldn’t say more.

NYO: Harder time to be in New York: winter or summer?

MG: The summer, you can go places quicker without thirteen layers on. But then, you know, it gets ludicrously hot. It’s a funny old town you got here: for like eight or nine months, it makes it hard for you to even exist.

NYO: Do you find yourself at that sweet spot of New York’s celebrity and fashion nexus?

MG: It’s pretty courteous to me. Funny, Mark Strong was having a party the other night and he was saying ‘Isn’t it brilliant here? Everyone is so kind and not in your face?’  I love how New York adopts people. It’s a bit like London, actually. A bit of a cultural mosaic. Partly that’s our history of trying to imperialize the entire world. But the whole thing about Ellis Island, people getting dropped off there and really, unless you’re a dick, they’ll go “Cool, glad you’re here!”

This conversation was edited and condensed.

_______________________________________________________________________________________ – The Good Wife’s Finn and Downton Abbey’s Tom Talk About Their TV Shows and Cumberbatch Mania [Extracts]

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images, Jemal Countess/Getty Images

These have been a great couple of weeks for friends Matthew Goode and Allen Leech, who play Finn on The Good Wifeand Tom Branson on Downton Abbey. Not only did their new movie, The Imitation Game, win the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award—an award that’s been a harbinger for Oscar winners like The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire—but both of their hit television shows debut their new seasons tonight. (Downton doesn’t air on PBS in the U.S. for four months, but you know you’re going to find a way to start watching it before then.)

The two were cast as part of the “Hut 8” team of cryptographers and linguists working out of London’s Bletchley Park under the direction of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), who eventually built a machine to break the “unbreakable” code the Nazis used for communication in WWII. We caught a couple cups of coffee with the pair in Toronto as they were still loopy from The Imitation Game premiere the night before.

You guys seem like bros.
Allen Leech: Bros or pros?

Allen: Yeah, we are.
Matthew Goode: Definitely. But we’re not pros. Anyway. Good morning to you. Cheers. I have felt and sounded better.
Allen: You sound more like Danny Huston this morning.

Are you guys sure you’re not still drunk from last night?
Allen: Oh no, we didn’t say that…
Matthew: We’re just bringing the energy.
Allen: People say this about us all the time when we talk. “Morten[ [Tyldum, director of The Imitation Game] used to ask that question: “Are you guys drunk?” Joking! This is a terrible interview, you’re getting all the wrong quotes from me.

Were you guys friends before this movie?
Allen: We met on this, actually.

And then it was love at first sight?
Matthew: We had our own love story.
Allen: We’ve been lucky enough to hang out a bit since.

Can we just talk for a minute about Benedict and that woman’s question—
Allen: Delicious yumminess? I knew you were gonna say that.
Matthew: Oh my god.
Allen: Delicious yumminess. Can I feed, can I feast on your yumminess?
Matthew: Can I feast on your yumminess?
Allen: No! She said, can I taste your yumminess? That was literally all she asked to do, do the action of it.
Matthew: Do you think there’s a vocabulary problem there? Or do you think she was asking to nosh him off.
: I think it was the latter.
Matthew: Do you think it was the latter?
Allen: I do, I think she was going for a full taste.
Matthew: I mean, ‘cause it can only be construed in one way.
Allen: Either way, it was gonna be a gastronomical feast.

[Waiter asks us what we want for breakfast]

What was the atmosphere on set like? You knew Benedict beforehand?
Matthew: I’ve known Ben for, like, 15 years.
Allen: Speaking of which, just for the crack, I’m gonna have an eggs Benedict.
Matthew: Change that to eggs Benedict, would you! Eggs Cumberbatch, please!
Allen: There is a very funny picture where someone superimposed Ugg boots on a picture of Benedict, and it says Uggs Benedict. [laughs]

So, um—
Matthew: The atmosphere on set was—well, we had the luxury of having two and a half weeks of rehearsal, to get kind of what the relationships would have been like, hanging around each other for 2 years in real life. So that was a joy. And the research was quite tough because a lot of the information was—
Allen: Well, it was so limited. We were really limited to what we could actually find out about these characters. All of Bletchley Park, as you see it in the movie, is shrouded in secrecy.

Waiter: [continues to try to take our order. It’s a bit of a struggle] Any bacon or sausage?

No, at least not for me.
Matthew: No. She’s not feasting on that much yumminess. She wants the omelet. One eggs Benedict, one omelet, one American breakfast, eggs over medium.
Matthew: We have far less that we’re allowed to put on our room bills than you’d think.
Allen: Uh oh. Whip out the old credit card there. There goes Christmas.
Matthew: You should be working!
Allen: [laughs] I’m unemployed! Thanks for bringing that up.

So you’ve known Benedict for 15 years. Did women come to set to scream at him?
Matthew: Well, yesterday was the first time I realized that he’s like a Beatle. I mean…
Allen: That was insane.
: We got in the car behind him going in. The screaming, I was like, oh, my god! This is electric! Because I don’t get out much—I’ve got kids now, so I don’t really get out that much.
Allen: You make it sound like, if you did, you wouldn’t be able to walk down the street. [laughs] If you did, you’d be on the subway, Oh, no! Get away!
: What I mean is I haven’t seen him in a bit either, so this meteoric rise—
Allen: It’s incredible. I got there ahead of him, and I was like the warm-up act. When I got there, and people were like, [dull voice] “Allen. Woo.” Four Downton fans. And I was like, “Hey!” And then I went over, and they had Sherlock pictures. They did this: they had a picture of Ben, and they’d go, [pretends to turn over a picture] “Sign the back please.” [laughs] I loved it, it was hilarious.
Matthew: Yeah. Because everything should be taken with a little pinch of salt.
Allen: Of course. It’s brilliant.
Matthew: Otherwise we’d swallow ourselves up.
Allen: Listen, I’m just delighted to be in the movie.
Matthew: Yeah! I am!
Allen: I would have walked to the premiere. I’m delighted they gave me a car.
Matthew: We should let you ask us a question.
Allen: You’re never gonna use any of this, are you?

This is your dynamic all the time?
: Pretty much. That’s why we were locked in a room.
: We used to be in the film a lot, lot more.
: There was actually a lot of us, but they had to re-edit it. Because this is it [laughs]. There was nothing they could use [laughs]. Oh god!
: No, we did have moments a bit like this, but mostly not.
: Mostly, I think we’re on a bit of a high given that it had such a good reception. But also [to Matthew], it’s just so great to see ya. It’s been too long.
: I know. We haven’t seen each other in a while.

At the end of every day at Bletchley, a bell rings at midnight and everything they’ve done for the day is rendered moot because the Germans will change the code and the code-breakers will have to start all over again. Did it work the same way on shooting? Did a bell ring and then did you guys get to go out on the town?
: I just had a child.
: Which means he mainly slept.

: Thank you very much. And that was #2.
: His first one is my favorite. Your wife didn’t take kindly when I said, ‘And the other one.’ And I kind of did this dismissive— [waves]
: She likes you. She likes you.
: I hardly get to see her, anyways. We’ll discuss this later.

Good to know.

[publicist comes over to tell Goode he’ll have to get his breakfast to go because he has to be at press conference in five minutes]

Okay, so since you’re leaving, I need to ask you about The Good Wife. You’re living in New York now shooting it, right?
: I am. They’re really nice people. And I’m getting used to the format of the 22-episodes marathon year of your life and the fact that a new script comes in each week and you’re like, [whistles] ‘Oh wow, I didn’t know that.’ I miss film for that, for the case of, like, there’s my entire story there in front of you.

What can you tell me about what’s going on with Finn on The Good Wifeas the new season starts?
: As the season starts, we have the State Attorney’s race, so he’s had to bow to it because of reasons that have to do with his past in the system. It’s going to be: where is he at in his life and what’s going on? Is Alicia going to be part of that race? Is there going to be a friendship that goes into…another area with Alicia’s character? I couldn’t even answer that question yet. I’m not even lying about that because I don’t even know. It’s going to be all of those. We have many great guest stars coming in: Taye Diggs and we’re also going to have Niles from Frasier.
: No! David Hyde Pierce.
: David Hyde Pierce. Yes. He’s brilliant.
: I love him. You’ll tell him I love him?
Matthew: He’s brilliant. He’s now joining the party with Michael J. Fox and Nathan Lane.

Have you met him?
: No, but I’m a huge fan of his as an actor.
: I’ll tell him.
: Please do.
: I haven’t met him yet, myself.
: He’ll be like, ‘Who?’
: He’ll be like, ‘I don’t watch Downton.’ I bet he does! How about this, if he doesn’t, I’ll give him the box set.

Of Downton?
: Yeah.
: Do! That’d be lovely. Cheers.
: That’s my mate! That’s my pride and joy [laughs].

[Goode leaves]

….  You’re like, ‘Thank god he’s gone.’ 

Did you and Matthew bond over having shows that start on the same day?
: Do they really? That’s wonderful. Ours only starts in the UK. His starts in America in 10 days. Good, because that means that they won’t clash.

Except that people illegally download Downton all the time.
: Yes they do. But why would they illegally download it when they could be watching The Good Wife.


Extracts from ‘What fame looks like from inside a meme – interview with Benedict Cumberbatch New York Magazine – on

by Jada Yuan – 17th November 2014

“I’ve known Ben for 15 years,” his Imitation Game co-star Matthew Goode will tell me the next day, “and yesterday was the first time I realized that he’s like a Beatle.”


Our waiter approaches one last time. “The gentlemen at the bar are fans and wanted to send over a glass of Champagne. This is Billecart-Salmon Brut.”

Cumberbatch’s whole affect grows tense, as if he’s trying to tamp down annoyance. “Well, thank you,” he says with a little sigh, and waves back to the very enthusiastically waving distant figures at the bar—it turns out they’re his Imitation Game co-stars and good friends Matthew Goode (a.k.a. Finn on The Good Wife) and Allen Leech (a.k.a. Tom on Downton Abbey).

“Matthew and Allen!” says Cumberbatch, cracking up. “Jesus Christ. Send it back! Can you send it back and say I’ve got an allergy?” he asks the waiter. “Thank you very much.” Then, for good measure, he shouts, loud enough so they can hear him: “And it’s not good enough!”

A minute or so later, the waiter is back. “They want to know if the allergy is to the Champagne or to them.”

“Both. Just say I’ve got an allergy to cheap Champagne. Tell them exactly that. I have acid reflux, and unless it’s really good bubbles, I’m not going to take that!” He shakes his head and laughs. “But please don’t sell that too well. Make sure they know it’s a joke. They’ll really think I’m an asshole.”

*This article appears in the November 17, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.