The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Matthew Macfadyen (“Ripper Street”)

Although BBC America received considerable acclaim from their original series, “Copper,” a period piece about New York City police officers circa the 1860s, it should come as no surprise that their stock and trade still tends to be series set in the UK. Don’t worry, though: they’re still sticking with the whole period-piece thing for their latest endeavor, “Ripper Street,” which is set in Whitechapel, in London’s East End, n 1889, a mere six months after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders. The series stars Matthew Macfadyen, a familiar face to Angophiles for his work in numerous TV and film appearances, and Bullz-Eye had a chance to chat with him just before the “Ripper Street” panel at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, where we asked him about his new gig, several of his old ones, and how he got into acting in the first place.

Bullz-Eye: You, sir, are no stranger to period pieces.

Matthew Macfadyen: I’ve done a few, yeah. [Laughs.]

BE: What was it about “Ripper Street” that stood out for you in particular? Certainly it’s a bit darker than some of your past fare.

MM: Yeah, I thought it was dark. But I just thought the writing was brilliant. I really did. I didn’t expect to…I wasn’t planning on doing another series, but then it came along and I couldn’t stop reading it, which is sort of the acid test for me. So that was it, really.

BE: When you took the role, how much of Det. Sgt. Edmund Reid was on the page, and how much were you able to bring to the part?

MM: It was all on the page. I mean, it’s there. It’s so beautifully sketched out, and there’s so much going on underneath him. He’s got this terrible thing with his family, his daughter, so…there’s a lot. It’s interesting. And I think the writer, Richard (Warlow), doesn’t immediately build the characters, but you know there’s a back story, and it sort of comes out in dribbles. It evolves.

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The delightfully destructive women of ‘Machete’

(L-R) Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba and Robert Rodriguez arriving for the premiere of 'Machete' during the 67th Venice International Film Festival (Mostra) at the Sala Grande Palazzo, in Venice, Italy on September 1, 2010. Photo by Nicolas Briquet/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom

It’s been 15 years since “Desperado” and half as long since “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” but it looks like Robert Rodriguez was finally ready to give us a film worthy of his glorious, violent legacy. “Machete” tells the tale of a federal agent, betrayed by his own organization, robbed of his family, and on a rampage of revenge that no one can stop. It’s exactly the kind of explosive plot you expect from Rodriguez, and he’s done us one better – he filled the movie with incredible women.

Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010  8/25/10 Robert Rodriguez, Electra Avellan, Machete, Film Premiere, The Orpheum Theatre, (Los Angeles, CA.) Photo via Newscom

Just look at the pure heat in this movie: Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Cheryl Chin. Even the minor appearances are smoking. Rodriguez got his nieces, Elise and Electra Avellan to play a pair of nurses. I’d love to hear how he explained that one to mom and dad. It had to be a little strange to cast your two ridiculously hot nieces in one of the sexiest roles known to man.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: Actress Michelle Rodriguez arrives at the Replay Party during the 63rd Annual Cannes Film Festival at Style Star Lounge on May 19, 2010 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a truly hot Jessica Alba on screen, and nothing is hotter than Alba stripped down to her underwear and soaking wet as we saw in the trailer (okay, maybe one thing is hotter, but we just aren’t that kind of site). Michelle Rodriguez made a name for herself on “Lost” and when you see her in “Machete” you’ll understand why. Can a woman wearing a leather shotgun-holster on her thigh outsexy Alba? If anyone can do it, it’s definitely going to be Michelle Rodriguez in this movie.

So sit back, relax, and take a little time out of your evening to appreciate the girls of “Machete.” And when you’re done, be sure hit your local theater. The movie released around the country on September 3rd.


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