English actor James Frain has been a regular feature in historical film and television since the early 1990s. He’s definitely one of those actors that you realize you’ve seen in so many different things, playing a wide range of roles. I was recently reviewing The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) in which he plays a pivotal role and wondering to myself how we haven’t featured him yet for a Man Candy Monday, because he’s been in so many frock flicks. Well, looks like it’s time to remedy that situation!
An Awfully Big Adventure (1995)
A very small part in this film which features a pretty big ensemble cast, this was one of Frain’s earliest frock flick roles.
Moving on up in the casting hierarchy, he plays Julius Folyat, Duke of Trevennick, one of the title-rich-cash-poor suitors of the main characters.
Frain plays Prince Felix Yusupov in this biopic about Grigori Rasputin (played by Alan Rickman).
Frain was cast as Philip, the sensitive friend and suitor of Maggie Tulliver, and the scion of the rival Wakem family.
He was cast as the Spanish prelate and ambassador to England, Alvaro de la Quadra.
Frain plays French director Jean Vigo, whose death at the age of 29 in 1934 came shortly after his sole film was released. This biopic takes an impassioned look at the last years of his brief life.
Frain plays Gustave Sonnenschein, the brother to Ignatz (Ralph Fiennes), whose family must weather changing fortunes in the early years of the 20th century.
Frain plays Villefort, whose role is substantially reduced in this adaptation, but who still plays a pivotal role in the plot to send Edmond to his death.
Frain plays David, one of the slaves that band together with Spartacus (Goran Višnjić — remember when he was a whole thing??) to rebel against the Roman emperor.
The mid-2000s and their obsession with the Roman Empire … In this miniseries, which came out the same year as the vastly superior Rome, James Frain plays Brutus.
Do we even need to write a blurb about this? Frain plays Thomas Cromwell.
Dark Relic (2010)
Frain is cast as Sir Gregory, who discovers a piece of the True Cross while on crusade. Supernatural shenanigans ensue.
Bert & Dickie (2012)
James Frain plays Olympic rower Jack Beresford, who helps train Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell just five short weeks before the 1948 London Olympics.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
I kind of just want to forget this film exists.
I suppose one of us needs to recap this eventually … To be fair, James Frain’s costume as Lord Warwick isn’t terrible.
Agent Carter (2015-16)
This is another one of those shows I absolutely love and has a ton of great 1940s costume content, but I still haven’t managed to get around to featuring it. Frain plays Leet Brannis, one of the bad guys Agent Carter is seeking to take down.
Olivia Martha Ilse (2015)
There’s not a lot of information about this short film, other than it follows three sisters in Depression-era Mississippi.
Are you a fan of James Frain? Tell us about it in the comments!
He also had a role in Shadowlands, Peter Whistler, one of CS Lewis’ students at Magdalen College in the 1950s.
It took me forever to realize I’d first seen him in Elizabeth when I was still a wee history buff; I think because of the sheer amount of bronzer/tanner they slapped on him (presumably to make him look more Spanish?) Loved his Thomas Cromwell though and he was an excellent baddie in Agent Carter.
Yeah, I just zipped over to IMDb to check if this article didn’t misidentify the character he plays, because whoa.
He was a terrible Sarek. Of course the scripts weren’t his fault.
I enjoyed his performance as Sarek very much, along with Season One of “Star Trek Discovery”.
Goran Višnjić is one of my boyfriends’ major crushes, so I have probably seen everything he’s been in. He is not particularly fond of Spartacus, but I’m a fan of James Frain, so perhaps a rewatch is in order
Has Goran Višnjić been in enough Frock Flicks for a MCM? Certainly IMDB says yes if one counts the various episodes in “Timeless.”
Not Frock Flickie but Frain is quite enjoyable in Orphan Black.
Rasputin (1996) – Insert obligatory Boney M reference: https://youtu.be/16y1AkoZkmQ
Sunshine (1999) – Not to be confused with the 2007 sci-fi film.
Sunshine (2007) was the film that introduced me to the INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL Hiroyuki Sanada–who DEFINITELY deserves a Man Candy Monday post!!!!
He voices a goat familiar in an episode of “What We Do in the Shadows.” Sounded like he was having some fun. He’s one of those who I keep seeing pop up in small roles, and then think “isn’t he a fairly big name?”
I definitely get the sense he’s the type to take roles because they appeal to him, not necessarily because they’re going to net a big paycheque or are high prestige. He had an arc playing the season baddie on Gotham (DC, baby!Batman and Commissioner Gordon when he was still a detective) and he was clearly enjoying himself throughout.
Is it just me or does Mr Frain look enough like Mr Henry Cavill to be a blood relation?
Mr Frain is an actor I’m always delighted to see, so it’s mildly embarrassing that the first thing that pops into my mind when he appears is “Man he looks like Henry Cavill” (so I would appreciate an objective opinion on whether this impression of mine is utter nonsense or not).
Wow, he was in both “Awfully Big Adventure” AND “Sunshine,” two of my fave lesser-known films?
Pretty much love him in all of these, but I always forget it’s him in Elizabeth!
Sunshine is one of the most depressing movies I’ve ever seen. Empire is laugh out loud terrible. And yes, I definitely remember when Goran Visnjic was a thing. Whenever I think about him, I always wonder how and why he didn’t become “more” of a thing. I vote for Goran Visnjic MCM, if possible. The man on the right in The Mill on the Floss picture looks like he was pasted on from the cover of a romance novel.