Matthew Goode's Leap Year
But that's not Goode's only romantic role of the moment. He's earning critical acclaim for his turn as Colin Firth's longtime partner in Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man.
The charming actor chats candidly about whether he's really ready for women to toss knickers at him, his childbirth advice for Amy Adams and what it was like to kiss Colin Firth.
Matthew Goode: To be honest with you, I'd done four quite serious films beforehand, and my other half and I were about to have a baby within a couple of months when we first got the script. And Amy Adams, she's a fab actress and I just loved [director] Anand Tucker's Hillary and Jackie, so all those components together meant that I was like, "Let's go to Ireland and have a bit of fun."
JW: Was your daughter born during filming?
MG: She was 3 months old when we started; she's 19 [months] now. We tried hanging out in the hotel—me, the missus, the baby and our puppy boxer as well. The girls had to go home after, like, three weeks because it was driving them insane, and me too. I had to keep hold of the dog. It was the bane of my life for the entire time I was there because I couldn't get a house because no one would rent a house to me with a dog. Luckily, the Marion Hotel allowed me to stay there with my dog the entire time. It did mean effectively leaving 20 quid notes underneath the pillows because every other morning the dog would piss on the bed during the night and it was like, "They're just going to think it's me—incontinent Matthew Goode."
MG: She's great. She's leading the film, essentially. I was most surprised by how good her comedy was. I hadn't seen a huge amount of stuff that she's done, but everything I'd seen was quite serious, really. It's lovely to hang out with her, and she's just really f***ing good, which always helps bring your game up if someone's on the ball.
JW: And she's recently made a big announcement. Do you have any words of wisdom for her and her fiancé about parenthood?
MG: I would say best of luck! Definitely go for the injection in the spine. That will save you a bit of pain. And don't invite the guy down to watch the breach, whatever you do. That's 10 years of bad sex right there.
MG: I suppose I did. There's a little of me in there in that I lead with my heart. I think I'm more cynical than even he is. So maybe the cantankerous stuff is just me on an early morning.
JW: I think another part that's fun about the film is that it's not love at first sight for your character and Amy's character. This one kind of leaves people hanging.
MG: A little bit, I'd say. But at the same time, it's not in a postmodern way trying to reformat the genre. It's still frothy fun, which is what was really nice about it, I think.
JW: This film is probably going to establish you as a leading man. I think it's going to do well, and I think women are going to love you after this. Are you ready for what's to come?
MG: Bloody hell, what's coming? That's very nice of you to say. I'd be surprised, let's put it that way. If it does very well, the film, then I'd be very happy. Certainly grateful. When you've got a new family, any kind of security you can have is great.
MG: No, not really. It sounds really facetious, but I just like working. I don't really work a huge amount, partly through choice and partly just that's the way it's always been. I've just been very lucky. It's all about the director, really, for me and getting those opportunities, and hopefully good directors will kick on my way—otherwise I'm screwed!
JW: Speaking of directors, you got to work with Tom Ford on his directorial debut for A Single Man. Tell me what that was like.
MG: It's really, really impressive. Tom really smashed it out of the park as far as a directorial debut. You're always hoping that a film is going to come to fruition, but so rarely does a film exceed your expectations on every scale. I mean, I knew Colin Firth was going to give a really good performance, but he gives an exceptional performance. Julianne Moore's amazing, and Nick Hoult, who's also in the film, he's a bit of a revelation playing something very different.
Considering the movie was made in 21 days, which is nothing. Tom financed it himself; he rewrote the screenplay. He's an extraordinarily talented man, and it's just thrilling to be part of something that's being so well received.
MG: I play Colin's [partner]. Actually, it's funny because you read the script and I die on page 1. I was kind of like, "Is that it?" And a few flashbacks. There's a bit of an age gap between them. They meet after [World War II] is finished, and they end up being together for 16 years. They're the loves of each other's lives. Jim, who's my character, is just a really nice, lovely guy who deeply cares about George. Jim and George, George and Jim...
JW: You and Colin share a kiss in the movie. Is Colin a better kisser than Amy?
MG: They both kiss good. It's very easy, actually. It's amazing what you can do after a couple of vodkas.
JW: Your characters in Leap Year and A Single Man are both romantic roles. What attracts you to those kinds of parts?
MG: It's funny, really. This is my third gay character in a row. Ostensibly not—I'd done Brideshead Revisited, which is sort of not completely [out]. Then The Other Man Years, which is kind of a secret base laid in there; it's lurking. And [A Single Man], it's kind of like Ben Stiller—I went full gay. Hopefully, it worked out better.
But I had this luxury. When you know that Julianne Moore and Colin are already cast, you're like, "I'd be an idiot not to take it even though Tom's a first-time director." ... He just won me over so completely when we met at Claridge's in London. I was like, "He sounds like he's got it nailed down and prepared." And that's exactly what it was. It's not really a surprise now the film is generating so much buzz. He is a real, serious filmmaker. In the next 10 years he's going to have a great body of work.