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He was playing a speed-fuelled thug opposite Daniel Mays.They were that show’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. So I knew he had what it takes to play this man who gets tangled up in a web of his own making as his trail of lies gets worse and worse.The analogy is fitting: like Firth, Penry-Jones has swashbuckled his way through period dramas, playing, in his time, Captain Wentworth in ITV's Persuasion.We meet, for lunch in the pub garden next to the pollen-rich field, to talk about his most recent period piece, although sadly, for his female fans at least, it airs over the radio waves rather than on television.It's a great listen, so I don't want to give too much away, but I can't resist probing on one of the play's main points about the frivolity of acting. I mean, I think acting has its place, but I remember when I was doing Hamlet, the first play I ever did, I had a terrible car crash on the way to the theatre. So you're just going to be shagging the lead actress' – and put the phone down on me.And that was it." What, the end of the relationship? It was afterwards, because then I did start sleeping with the lead actress." By way of justification, he later adds: "It is a funny job. You just have to make sure that you're talking to your wife regularly.This makes it somewhat poignant that his most recent role, Peter Kyle in Sir Terence Rattigan's wartime hit Flare Path, about a Bomber Command squadron, is a Hollywood hotshot who has returned to the UK to try and snare his one true love.
But that doesn't stop memories of that Mr Darcy moment, when Colin Firth emerged dripping from the lake, from flooding into my mind as I watch him gamely sniff away, ignoring his hayfever for the good of our photo-shoot.I can only suggest the Io S portrait might ease their disappointment.There's a certain irony in watching Penry-Jones pull up to the pub in his soft-top Mercedes SL300.Daniel’s lie is very bad, but in this series everybody is lying and being hypocritical.” For his part, Grint thinks the show is not tasteless as “Daniel genuinely thought he had cancer – that was completely real. “And he’s not just flippantly doing this because he can.
He’s always very much aware that it’s a terrible, terrible thing to be doing.
Everything about him shrieks film star, from the black shades firmly clamped to his face and the sun-bleached blond hair, ruffled by the breeze on the short drive from his Hampshire family home to Exton's watering hole, The Shoe.