To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed. First – because I’m more of a Bronte gal (although I love Jane Austen, Persuasion rather than Pride and Prejudice is the standout in my opinion). Second – because the first appearance of Mr Darcy left me all ‘Huh?’ So cold, so aloof, so…unattractive. What was the big deal?
|Should have been bowled over immediately?|
So I stopped watching.
There would be no reason for this column had I not, on a subsequent flight when I’d run out of movies to watch (I travelled a lot back then), decided to finish what I’d started.
And I have only two words to describe the metamorphosis that took place in my heart as the story unfolded: RAIN SCENE. For those who haven’t seen the snippet below, I dare you not to rush out and grab this movie immediately after watching it…
Now it’s not that I wasn’t already converted to Team Macfadyen by the time this scene threw itself onto the screen – because I most definitely was – but this is the part of the movie that pushed me over the edge and into a total annihilating fixation on Darcy, Macfadyen, and the whole freaking movie!
|Adorable - just saying!|
The love, the disappointment, the confusion, dignity, longing. The pride and the anguish. All in a handful of lines, a few facial expressions, a step or two towards Elizabeth, a hand movement, a dip of the head, a look aside. Not to mention that perfect moment when you’re so sure they’re going to kiss, even though you know they’re not going to kiss, because then it wouldn’t be Pride and Prejudice, would it…?
Yowzer! That scene encapsulated everything I love about romance.
And it taught me the meaning of the word ‘crush’ – because after I watched it, I was in throes of my first-ever movie star obsession. What I couldn’t understand was how Matthew Macfadyen had moved me from thinking he was unattractive to viewing him as the most beautiful man in the world, all in 135 minutes. (Which of course mirrors the way Elizabeth Bennet thought of Mr Darcy – yep, that’s how good an actor the guy is.)
|Hello! Who wouldn't want to kiss him?|
What the hell – decide yourselves by checking out his eyelashes in this, my second favourite scene from the movie.
I bought every TV show, every movie he’s ever been in. I would have bought a television commercial if I could have found one he was in. It got to the point where my poor beleaguered husband, The Hon, started groaning every time he innocently started watching a movie with me…only to have Matthew Macfadyen’s face pop up.
And it seemed this one crush opened the floodgates for me, because Matthew was followed in quick succession by Mark Strong (Mr Knightley), Toby Stephens (Mr Rochester), Richard Armitage (Mr Thornton), and Rupert Penry-Jones (Captain Wentworth). Worthy subjects, all – but for another day.
I've been thinking about my mid-life-crushses a lot recently – mostly because it was the kick-start for my book, Wanting Mr Wrong, which is coming out in February.
It’s no coincidence that my heroine thinks she’s been taken over by an alien when she falls head over heels in lust with a British actor. Because in my office, surrounded by a bunch of enabling colleagues who were only too willing to gaze adoringly with me at YouTube videos, magazine articles and fan sites about Mr Macfadyen, I started to doubt my sanity. But I have to say, it was a lot of fun and I don't regret a moment of it!
I no longer think I’m insane – I’m just enjoying my crushes as they come along, as romance readers and writers all over the world do every day.
Bring on the next one, I say.
Wanting Mr Wrong is an irresistible rom-com about a girl who refuses to fall for the man the whole world is in love with.
Evie Parker has never been one to swoon after celebrities - give her a neuroscientist over an actor any day! So when she develops her first movie-star crush, she's determined to date her way out of it, starting with the next good-looking doctor she sees.
Yet hovering on the fringes of her life is her gay best friend's determined brother, Jackson J Stevens, a famous actor who comes with trailing paparazzi. The one thing worse than a celebrity in Evie's eyes is a media circus, so Jack isn't an option no matter how hard he flirts with her.
Evie knows what she doesn't want; Jack knows what he does. And somewhere in the middle, pheromones are making things go haywire every time they're together.