Matthew Goode in 'Leap Year'British actor Matthew Goode slips so seamlessly into his movie roles that it's hard to believe he's not really an upper-class pretty boy ('Match Point'), a smooth-talking American sleazeball ('The Lookout') or an, um, ageless Germanic superhero ('Watchmen'), all of whom he made completely believable onscreen. Not many other actors could have withstood comparisons to Jeremy Irons' portrayal of Charles Ryder in 'Brideshead Revisited,' the iconic '80s miniseries. But Goode was better than good in the 2008 film remake; again, he nailed the role.

He first came to the attention of American filmgoers as Mandy Moore's love interest in the 2004 romcom 'Chasing Liberty' and nearly stole Brit dramedy 'Imagine Me & You' as a self-deprecating groom whose bride falls for another woman on their wedding day. Most recently he played (in flashbacks) the deceased object of Colin Firth's sorrow in 'A Single Man.'
Matthew Goode in 'Leap Year'British actor Matthew Goode slips so seamlessly into his movie roles that it's hard to believe he's not really an upper-class pretty boy ('Match Point'), a smooth-talking American sleazeball ('The Lookout') or an, um, ageless Germanic superhero ('Watchmen'), all of whom he made completely believable onscreen. Not many other actors could have withstood comparisons to Jeremy Irons' portrayal of Charles Ryder in 'Brideshead Revisited,' the iconic '80s miniseries. But Goode was better than good in the 2008 film remake; again, he nailed the role.

He first came to the attention of American filmgoers as Mandy Moore's love interest in the 2004 rom-com 'Chasing Liberty' and nearly stole Brit dramedy 'Imagine Me & You' as a self-deprecating groom whose bride falls for another woman on their wedding day. Most recently he played (in flashbacks) the deceased object of Colin Firth's sorrow in 'A Single Man.'

Now he's having another go at romantic comedy with 'Leap Year,' directed by Anand Tucker ('Shopgirl'). In the film, Goode's scruffy Irish innkeeper comes to the aid of an American control freak (Amy Adams) who has flown to Dublin to propose to her cardiologist fiancé on February 29. (According to Irish tradition, it's the one day that women may propose marriage.) We chatted up Goode, a funny, charming guy, at 2 PM his time, just as the actor proudly announced he was cracking his first beer of the day. (True story.)

Has there ever been a more romantic setting for a romantic comedy than with 'Leap Year'?
I'll tell you what, it doesn't get more beautiful than the west of Ireland. Connemara and County Derry are quite stunning really. So no, there hasn't really been for a while ... maybe if you think back to 'The Quiet Man.'

And had you ever been to those parts of Ireland before?
I'd never been, I'd only been to Dublin before which is ludicrous considering how close it is to England. But that was one of the things I loved about it, all this amazing landscape. There's some pretty great fishing and golf courses there as well.

Had you met Amy Adams before shooting?
Before shooting, yes, because I had to get the job. She had a part in the casting so I went in and read. I wasn't the only chap; she's quite a big actress these days.

It looked like you two were really comfortable together onscreen. Was it fun?
It was really great fun; I had the best time of my life because we'd [he and girlfriend Sophie Dymoke] just had our baby and she was with us. Actually I was very tired indeed. But she's great, Amy, really fun, very good actress ... We were quite pleased with how the movie came out, too. Of course, it's hardly transforming the genre ...

Right, but people have certain expectations of a romantic comedy and I think you met them.
Well, that's good. I was hoping that you were going to end that sentence on the positive. "People have certain expectations and you missed them completely." OK!

Watch the trailer for 'Leap Year'


You've done several accents in your films. Was it tricky getting this one?
I have to say it really was because Anand wasn't quite sure where he wanted me to come from for a while then he made the decision that it would be Dingle and the County Kerry accent would be a good one. Luckily I had one of the best vocal coaches in the world, Gerry Grennell -- he worked with Johnny Depp and other people -- he's fabulous and he lives in Dublin so it was perfect. The first day Anand said, "Well, everyone in the crew seems to think you sound alright, it's just that I can't understand a bloody word." It was a bit thick, which is good in the west of Ireland, very, very strong accents in certain parts. You can barely understand a bloody word yourself. So it was definitely blood, sweat and tears [sighs] but it worked out.

Is there any sort of character you'd really like to play?
I've always wanted to play a detective in a thriller with another guy, I think. Two guys trying to find out something, that would be fun, private detectives or something. I'd really enjoy that ... or not, as the case may be.

But you'd like to try.
Absolutely, as long as the script isn't a floating turd. "I'm going to do my dream! A dream of playing a detective! But the script is f***ing shit!" That would be hell.

Aside from accents...
Yes? Aside from accents I do funny walks as well!

That was the question: Do you have any secret talents?
I'm quite good at golf. I haven't played in a f***ing long time, I used to have a handicap of 4. Is that a secret talent or is that just showing off? I do the housework, that's a pretty good secret talent. I like the cooking. I think after a woman's had a baby, you have to do more than your fair share. She had to give up drinking and everything else for nine months.

Is there any actor whose career you'd like to emulate?
Yeah, sure, there's so many really. People like Billy Crudup and Sam Rockwell; they have very tremendous range, doing theater and cinema. There are heroes of mine, like Michael Caine ... I loved Peter O'Toole. Maybe O'Toole and [Richard] Burton and those boys, but without the alcoholism.

Then again, maybe the alcohol added to ... no, no, what am I saying?!
I like the idea you're driving at! Maybe that would really help performances. Only time can tell; I'm willing to give it a try.

So how was it working with Colin Firth and Tom Ford on 'A Single Man?'
I loved it; bearing in mind that the film was shot in 21 days, I wasn't there for terribly long. Colin was one of the reasons I wanted to do it; I knew he was going to smash his part out of the park, and Julianne [Moore] was involved. Great cast. And Tom's Tom. It was a bit intimidating to meet him at first, but after a couple of drinks in Claridges, we went through what his vision was, he's very, very passionate, and it was kind of a love poem to his own partner Richard. Why wouldn't I want to be involved with that? It's a great book and quite important story.

It's great that it's getting so much recognition.
Yes, and Colin's become a chum; I'm terribly fond of him.

He seems like a really solid guy.
He's so solid. He's fab, really, really fab. Give him a good vodka martini with a twist and sparks can fly.

What can you tell me about 'Cemetery Junction,' your upcoming film co-directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant?
Well, Cemetery Junction is an area of Redding outside London and the story focuses mainly on three young chaps whose lives will continue to go down the toilet or they're going to make something of themselves. It's a coming-of-age story and there's bit of romance in there and the backdrop of the film is the insurance industry and the head of that industry is played by Ralph Fiennes and I play his protégée in waiting, only slightly less of an a**hole than Ralph is. None of us play particularly nice people in it.

That can be fun, playing nasty people?
It's great! Are you kidding me? I enjoyed it.

And how were Gervais and Merchant?
Just the best. So funny, lovely, shoot quite quickly; Steve's like 6'8"; it's quite funny. They just spent most of the time giggling with each other.

Anything else coming up that we should know about?
There's nothing at the moment so we're just waiting to see if anyone else is enough of a lunatic to hire me. I figure that'll be a year.

I doubt it'll be that long. Kind of nice to have some time off, though, especially with a family?
Yes, time off for Christmas and I'm just getting to watch little Matilda grow up, which is fantastic.

Kind of puts everything else into perspective, right?
Oh my God, doesn't it! You go away for a week and you come home and it breaks your heart, there's this little face staring back at you.
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