MCM: Toby Jones


You know British actor Toby Jones, but because he’s a “character actor,” you may not recognize the name. But this incredibly talented actor has played both supporting and lead roles in many excellent films, often historical! And because he’s a character actor, he’s had a long career. Let’s celebrate his work!


Orlando (1992)

Jones plays a “Valet” in the 17th-century scene where Orlando won’t wake up:

1992 Orlando

On the left!


Performance: Henry IV (1995)

A UK series of classic and contemporary plays. Jones played “Wart” in this adaptation.

1995 Performance Henry IV

As will become a theme for a while here, I can’t find any pics, so here’s the male leads, including Rufus Sewell and Hugh Dancy. Except this might be a different production. Not sure. Whatevs!


Cadfael: The Sanctuary Sparrow (1994)

He was in one episode of the medieval mystery series.

Cadfael (1994–98)

Again no pics, so here’s lead Derek Jacobi | Photo by ITV / Rex USA ( 621172EA )


Les Misérables (1998)

Jones played “Door Keeper” (which door?) in the Liam Neeson-starring Victor Hugo adaptation about the Paris Uprising of 1832.

1998 Les Miserables

Again, no pics, so here’s Neeson and my least favorite, Geoffrey Rush!


Cousin Bette (1998)

Jones was the “Man in Café des Artistes” in the 1840s Paris-set Balzac adaptation.

1998 Cousin Bette

You guessed it, no pics! Here’s Bob Hoskins and Hugh Laurie instead.


Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

Jones played the “Royal page” in the Southern Renaissance France-set Cinderella movie.

1998 Ever After- A Cinderella Story

Hooray, pics! Rocking the curls here and, I’m guessing, being extra comical.


Aristocrats (1999)

The fabulous adaptation of the fabulous biography of the four Lennox sisters, who led society in mid-18th century England and Ireland. Jones has a star turn as Ste, ridiculously spoiled son of the eldest sister.

1999 Aristocrats

Poncy hair at mom’s deathbed.

1999 Aristocrats

With his similarly ridiculous brother.

1999 Aristocrats

At court! Yes I went and screencapped these pics.


The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)

Jones plays “English Judge,” I’m guessing the one who sentences Joan of Arc in this biopic.

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)

No pics, so here’s some boys (including John Malkovich as the dauphin) from the film in lieu of Jones!


Simon Magus (1999)

“A Jew tries to revive his dwindling village by building a railway station next to it,” per Wikipedia. Jones plays “Buchholz.”

1999 Simon Magus

Lead Ian Holm, because Jones still isn’t showing up in pics!


In Love and War (2001)

A TV adaptation of a World War II memoir set in Italy. Jones plays “Bolo.”

2001 In Love and War

You guessed it, can’t find any pics, so here’s some actresses from the film.


The Way We Live Now (2001)

An 1870s-set Anthony Trollope adaptation. Jones plays a lawyer named Squercum.

2001 The Way We Live Now

In lieu of Jones, I give you lead heartthrob Cillian Murphy.


Victoria & Albert (2001)

Jones had a small part as Edward Oxford, who tried to assassinate Queen Victoria, in this TV biopic.

1992 Orlando

The royal couple.


Finding Neverland (2004)

Jones plays Smee in the stage production of Peter Pan, which is set within this larger biopic about playwright J.M. Barrie.

2004 Finding Neverland

He’s got the perfect look for Smee!


Ladies in Lavender (2004)

Sisters, a Polish violinist, and more things that would entertain your grandmother. Set in Cornwall in 1936. Jones plays “Hedley.”

2004 Ladies in Lavender

Yet another small role, so here’s leads Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Natascha McElhone instead.


Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)

A British socialite opens a variety theatre in 1931. Jones plays “Gordon.”

Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)

The showgirls in lieu of Jones.


Elizabeth I (2005)

Jones played Robert Cecil, son of William Cecil and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I.

2005 Elizabeth I

In the brown doublet, second from left.


A Harlot’s Progress (2006)

Jones plays English artist William Hogarth in this film about the painter’s relationship with a prostitute and resulting works.

2006 A Harlot's Progress

Making a print.

2006 A Harlot's Progress

A few screencaps.


Amazing Grace (2006)

A biopic about William Wilberforce and the fight to end the slave trade in Britain in the 1780s-1800s. Jones plays the poncy Duke of Clarence, who is on the opposing side.

2006 Amazing Grace

Poncy wig and makeup — and looking great!


Infamous (2006)

Jones played American novelist Truman Capote to rave reviews.

2006 Infamous

Looking authorial?


The Painted Veil (2006)

Doctors in 1930s China fight cholera; Jones plays “Waddington.”

2006 The Painted Veil

And actually shows up in pics! Cravat and all!


Nightwatching (2007)

Dutch artist Rembrandt creates his 1642 painting “The Night Watch.” Jones plays fellow painter Gerrit Dou.

2007 Nightwatching

Rocking the collar and cuffs.


The Old Curiosity Shop (2007)

A Dickens adaptation. Jones plays Daniel Quilp, who is one of the story’s antagonists.

2007 The Old Curiosity Shop

That’s a very Dickensian hat!


Creation (2009)

Charles Darwin’s relationship with his wife as he writes On the Origin of Species. Jones plays Thomas Henry Huxley, a biologist and anthropologist who was a fierce supporter of Darwin.

2009 Creation



Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express (2010)

The David Suchet-led 1930s Agatha Christie murder mystery series. Jones plays Samuel Ratchett / Lanfranco Cassetti.

2010 Poirot- Murder on the Orient Express

Dapper guys!


Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

A Marvel movie set during World War II. Jones plays a Nazi biochemist.

2011 Captain America- The First Avenger

Looking nerdy and unassuming.


Christopher and His Kind (2011)

A TV miniseries about novelist Christopher Isherwood, who moved to Germany during the 1930s and fell in love while experiencing the rise of Nazism. Jones plays the real-life Gerald Hamilton, memoirist and critic.

2011 Christopher and His Kind

Can’t find any pics of Jones, here’s some hot boys (including Matt Smith) getting sexy.


My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Jones plays real-life Marilyn Monroe publicist Arthur P. Jacobs.

2011 My Week with Marilyn


Your Highness (2011)

Jones plays “Julie” in this stoner medieval comedy. I like stupid historical comedies, and even I won’t touch this one!

2011 Your Highness

He gives good crazy hair?


The Girl (2012)

A TV film about film director Alfred Hitchcock’s (Jones) relationship with actress Tippi Hedren.

2012 The Girl

That’s pretty darn perfect.

The Girl (2012)



Titanic (2012)

The Julian Fellowes-authored TV miniseries. Jones plays what I think is a steerage character.

Titanic (2012)



Serena (2014)

A film about a couple running a timber business in 1930s North Carolina. Jones plays the local sherriff who gets involved when someone dies.

2014 Serena

Nice pocket square!


Tale of Tales (2015)

The 17th-century-set Italian horror fairytale film. Jones plays “the King of Highhills” in the third segment which involves a flea and a daughter who marries an ogre.

2015 Tale of Tales

Cute in green pants and stockings!

2015 Tale of Tales

I’m guessing this is pre-ogre?


The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

A biopic about Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Jones plays British mathematician John Edensor Littlewood.

2015 The Man Who Knew Infinity


Anthropoid (2016)

A film about the assassination of Nazi Reinhard Heydrich during World War II. Jones plays a resistance leader.

2016 Anthropoid


Dad’s Army (2016)

A World War II comedy about the older men who defended Britain. Jones plays a character named Captain Mainwaring who has become a classic in British comedy.

2016 Dad's Army

It’s serious business!


The Secret Agent (2016)

An adaptation of a 1907 Joseph Conrad novel about British spies. Jones plays “Mr Anton Verloc, a businessman running a sex shop in London’s Soho who is being secretly paid by the Russian embassy to spy on revolutionary groups,” per Wikipedia.

2016 The Secret Agent 2016 The Secret Agent


Journey’s End (2017)

A film set during World War I. Jones plays an army cook.

2017 Journey's End


The Witness for the Prosecution (2016)

Jones plays a lawyer defending a man accused of murder in this Agatha Christie adaptation.

Witness for the Prosecution (2016)

He dresses well!

Witness for the Prosecution (2016)

Even if he’s not very well off.


Zoo (2017)

During World War II, a family tries to protect a zoo elephant in Belfast. Jones plays a security guard.

2017 Zoo

Hence the hat!


First Cow (2019)

Set in 1820, “A skilled cook has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant also seeking his fortune. Soon the two collaborate on a successful business,” per Wikipedia. Jones plays a wealthy English trader.

2019 First Cow

Dressed up all dapper!


The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

A biopic about cat painter Louis Wain. Jones plays Sir William Ingram, a real-life baronet, managing director of a newspaper, and politician.

2021 The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Love that jacket!

2021 The Electrical Life of Louis Wain


The Wonder (2022)

In 1862, a nurse observes an Irish girl who hasn’t eaten in months. Jones plays a doctor.

2022 The Wonder


The English (coming 2022)

Emily Blunt will star as an Englishwoman who in 1890 seeks revenge for the death of her son in this Western. Jones will play a supporting role.

2022 The English


The Pale Blue Eye (coming 2022)

A gothic horror story set in 1830. Jones plays a doctor.

2022 The Pale Blue Eye

Sorry, distracted by how great Gillian Anderson looks!


Indiana Jones (coming 2023)

Jones will play a supporting role in the forthcoming Indy sequel.

2023 Indiana Jones

Roughing it!



What’s your favorite of Toby Jones’s numerous historical roles?

19 Responses

  1. Boxermom

    Thanks, Kendra! I can’t believe he’s done so many historical roles. He was also the voice of Dobby in the Harry Potter movies. :)

    • MJ

      Okay, I love Toby Jones, starting with Ever After (he was hilarious), but I randomly love him most in the Captain America movies. He plays a delightful villain.

      And I am totally distracted by that promo pic of him with Gillian Anderson.

  2. Barbara

    His best role was in the “The Detectorists”… not a historical role but still his very best work IMHO.

    • Lily Lotus Rose

      Oooh…The Dectorists was so good, so well executed by all involved, including Toby Jones who was excellent!

  3. Kat

    Now I realize why I’ve had a lifelong knee-jerk reaction to him, even though he’s a fabulous actor; his character in Ever After (which I watched repeatedly as a wee one) is so slimy, it clearly formed an early impression on me.

  4. Elizabeth

    That is Jonathan Firth, Colin’s younger brother, in the Henry IV photo not Hugh Dancy. I was lucky enough to study with Toby Jones for 3 weeks in London when I was still acting. He was lovely.

    • Kendra



      I’m so glad to hear Toby was lovely!

      • Lily Lotus Rose

        I had no idea Colin Firth had a brother either, until now. When I saw the picture, I thought the guy on the right WAS Colin Firth. Apparently there’s no shortage of handsome in that family.

    • Adele

      Never mind Firth junior, would love to hear more about your experience acting with Toby Jones! Whose best work, for me as well, was Detectorists.

  5. M.E. Lawrence

    When Jones is good, which is usually, he is close to perfect. Such happy memories of T.J. in “Aristocrats,” as Robert Cecil, and others. (Any chance of a deep dive or longish article about “Aristocrats”? It seems tricky to get hold of.)

  6. Al Don

    He is a great actor – underrated as a leading man actually. I know he’s prolific, including period films, but damn I didn’t realize haha.

    As for Les Misérables (1998), Jones plays a guard outside of the courtroom, where a man is mistaken for the escaped convict Valjean. Around 20 seconds in:

    In The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999), Jones plays one of the judges who berates Joan of Arc about whether or not she had killed anyone in battle. Cameo role but memorable for its histrionics. I don’t know of a solo clip online.

  7. Lily Lotus Rose

    Even though Toby Jones is a character actor, he’s one I know by name. Somebody already said that he’s usually always excellent, and I agree. Even though, 90% of the time when he shows up on screen I think, “Oh, he isn’t going to be able to pull this one off.” But he does! I should’ve learned my lesson by now. Also, he’s giving me Paul Giamatti vibes in the Journey’s End picture. Is this the MCM post with the most omitted pictures of the featured man?

  8. Kathy

    I hope you’ll tackle The English. Jones’ role (and Ciarhan Hinds’) is small but vivid. Would love your take on Emily Blunt’s main attire. My favorite FF is Painted Veil but Detectorists is must see TV.

  9. LadySlippers

    He’s such a fantastic actor. I used to question why he’d be in something, but no more. He somehow seems to both disappear into a role and stand out at the same time. It’s a fascinating trait to have.I’ll now go hunt down some of these based on the suggestions of others.

    I agree with Kathy here, I do hope you look at The English. I don’t like Westerns, but this series felt like it transcended and transformed the genre a bit. All the acting in it was superb — from Emily Blunt (as Lady Cornelia Locke), Chaske Spencer (Sgt Eli Whipp), to the smaller roles like Toby Jones’ (Sebold Cusk). The writing and the cinematography were outstanding.


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