He’s been in everything, but, no, Rufus Sewell doesn’t have a glass eye, it’s just a lazy eye that never quite got corrected. It makes him weirdly cute, so he’s not that standard-issue leading man. But he’s still had the lead in a lot of historical costume movies and TV series, just not as many big shiny ones. It’s like he’s a poor man’s Hugh Grant! Still, Rufus Sewell is a damn fine actor and just shows up everywhere. He deserves a Man Candy Monday of his own, and these are my favorite of his roles.
Will Ladislaw, Middlemarch (1994)
The sweet, smart, tenuous hero of one of my very favorite Victorian novels, and such a perfect adaption! Historically accurate, true to the book, totally recommended.
Seth Starkadder, Cold Comfort Farm (1995)
This movie is hilarious, and it shows how Sewell can play dark comedy as well as drama (he tends to get more breadth of roles in non-costume flicks though).
Fortinbras, Hamlet (1996)
A small role, but hey, somebody has to come in and pick up the pieces. (This is the excellent Kenneth Branagh version, btw, not the weak Mel Gibson one.)
Giles Winterbourne, The Woodlanders (1997)
An adaption of a lesser-known Thomas Hardy novel, but a very well-done one. Rufus Sewell plays the jilted lover who comes to a tragic end. Par for the course in Hardy, though this is unusual in that the man dies and not the woman (spoiler alert).
Marco Venier, Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Rufus Sewell moons over this talky courtesan, who wears historically inaccurate pants and yells at Oliver Platt. Yeah, it’s not my favorite Rufus Sewell movie, but for reasons that have little to do with him.
Count Adhemar, A Knight’s Tale (2001)
I’m on record as HATING this movie, no lie. But Sewell does look cute in armor, I’ll give it that.
Charles II, The Last King, aka Charles II: The Power and the Passion (2003)
Marke, Tristan + Isolde (2006)
I found this movie rather meh. Sorry Rufus! He does get a sex scene and wears a lot of fur, so y’know, yay for him.
Crown Prince Leopold, The Illusionist (2006)
Lookin’ sharp in the uniform and mustachios!
Alexander Hamilton, John Adams (2008)
This is a really, really good miniseries, both well-written and with excellent costumes. I’m sure Kendra will give it a detailed review as part of her 18th-Century Quest at some point. I’ll just mention that, for Rufus Sewell’s only foray into the 18th century, he looks mighty fine (no shocker).
Tom Builder, The Pillars of the Earth (2010)
True confessions time: My husband and I both loved this kind of cheesy Ken Follett historical novel, and we just found the miniseries available for streaming. But we’ve been busy, and we’re saving the show to watch together. I have high hopes, so don’t burst my bubble if it sucks.
I haven’t listed them all, only my highlights — what’s your favorite Rufus Sewell historical costume movie or TV series?