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Five Dreamy British Actors You Want to Watch (right now)

May 26, 2010

As the self-professed Anglophile I am at heart, I bring you my list of top five dreamy Brit scene-chewers I cannot get enough of in tv/film.  Eat your heart out Leo and George.

  

5.) Michael Fassbender

Fassbender first came to American audiences’ attention as the scene-stealing (and appropriately named) Stelios in 300.  CGI’d pecs aside, he has a uniquely compelling appearance and style that was gaining attention overseas long before he became a mainstream actor stateside.  He was a staid and hilarious Lt. Archie Hicox in Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece Inglourious Basterds, and played a seductively menacing fallen arch-angel Azazeal on the cult Brit drama Hex.  Up next, he’s the perfect choice for the brooding anti-hero Edward Rochester in the latest adaptation of Jane Eyre.

Notable Films/Television:

Hunger, 300, Angel

Don’t Miss:

Hex, Inglourious Basterds

4.) Ioan Gruffudd

Unfortunately, Ioan is primarily known in the U.S. for his role as Reed Richards in the not-so-fantastic film version of Fantastic Four.  Before that, he was a charming and subtle everyman as the lead in A and E’s brilliant  Napoleonic era Horatio Hornblower adventures.  Gruffudd was also one of the least painful things about Antoine Fuqua’s horrible King Arthur, playing the silently suffering Lancelot.   Perhaps his most challenging and moving role to date was his portrayal of British abolitionist William Wilberforce in the underappreciated Amazing Grace.  His next project is Banking on Mr.Toad, a biopic about the author Kenneth Grahame.

Notable Films/Television:

Great Expectations, The Forsyte Saga, 101 Dalmations, Fantastic Four, Black Hawk Down, King Arthur

Don’t Miss:

Horatio Hornblower, Amazing Grace

3.) Jamie Bamber

Bamber, like Gruffudd, is a veteran of A and E’s marvelous Horatio Hornblower series, where he played the innocent and often hapless Lt. Archie Kennedy, a fan favorite.  After Hornblower, he meandered his way through period piece mini-series, most notably Daniel Deronda and Lady Audley’s Secret, before landing the role that would make his career.  As hotshot pilot with a heart of gold  Lee “Apollo” Adama, Bamber would help make sci-fi history in Ron D. Moore’s masterpiece Battlestar Galactica.  After the success of BSG, Bamber traveled home to star as the lead, DS Matt Devlin,  in the UK’s remake of Law and Order.

Notable Films/TV:

Daniel Deronda, Horatio Hornblower

Don’t Miss:

Battlestar Galactica

2.) James Purefoy

Heart-throb and man’s man Purefoy made his mark on British TV in various series and films, playing the wayward Tom Bertram in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, and a villain in the little seen US  film Resident Evil.  He was finallypromoted to leading man status in the A and E production of  The Mayor of Casterbridge, as steadfast and proud merchant Donald Farfrae.  He was the long-suffering Rawdon Crawley to Reese Witherspoon’s Becky Sharpe in Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair, but it wasn’t until HBO’s hit series Rome, where he played the scheming and foolhardy Mark Antony that he truly earned his well-deserved fame.  He’s currently filming the long-awaited adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s sci-fi tale John Carter of Mars alongside a bevy of famous Brits.

Notable Films/Television:

Mansfield Park, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Resident Evil, Beau Brummell:  This Charming Man

Don’t Miss:

Rome

1.) Richard Armitage

Richard Armitage’s rugged looks always take second place to those eyes that just scream “see my hidden emotional depths” .    Although virtually unknown here in the states, Armitage’s first big break was as the steamy and conflicted mill owner John Thornton in the BBC’s marvelous adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s tale of Victorian class differences, North and South (not to be confused with the US miniseries based on the Civil War novels by author John Jakes).  He then shot to fame as another brooding character,   Guy of Gisburne in the BBC’s short lived Robin Hood retread.  Currently, he’s earning great ratings as John Porter in the adaptation of Chris Ryan’s Strike Back.

Notable Films/Television:

Spooks, Robin Hood, The Impressionists

Don’t Miss:

North and South

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