Zorro schmorro. He’s done perfectly well in Shakespeare (most notably as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew with Shirley Henderson), I liked him as Prince Leopold in The Illusionist. But the two best Rufus years for me were undoubtedly 1994 (Will Ladislaw in the BBC version of Middlemarch) and 1995 (Seth Starkadder in Cold Comfort Farm). It’s the proposterously romantic and slightly wayward curly hair, marvellously cut cheekbones and huge, soulful eyes. The delicious voice helps of course. Oh yes, and the diffidence. Lordy. I’m coming over quite peculiar just typing this. Cold Comfort Farm is a marvellously wicked story from start to finish, so Sewell as Starkadder is icing on a splendid cake in it. Despite the soulful eyes, he’s very far from being a wimp and he shows his manly physique in this. Plenty tall and broad of shoulder and good at comedic self-deprecation too.
But it’s in Middlemarch that Sewell really hits his stride. He is the molten core at the centre of the series. You just wait for scenes that he’s in. It’s not that the other actors aren’t competent in it, they very much are, but he smoulders so much I needed smelling salts to get me through an episode.
I’m not knocking Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice. He does look fine in wet shirt and breeches, but that was blatant cheating by Andrew Davies. Jane Austen put no such thing in the novel. Will Ladislaw stays dry and clothed, which frankly, because Rufus Sewell is the man buttoned-up, is even sexier.
Nobody does moody, repressed longing like our Rufus. Now where did I put those smelling salts?
If you love Rufus, you might want to look at this post on the delicious man in Zen.
Posted by Inkface