When I’m looking to write a Man Candy Monday or Woman Crush Wednesday, I usually identify people who’ve been in a whole bunch of historical costume movies and/or TV shows. Those faces that show up over and over again, sometimes surprisingly so, sometimes obviously.
But there are also actors who’ve only been in a few frock flicks yet were so good but didn’t turn up in that many others. Or who just seem like they would be super appropriate for cravats and frock coats, bustle gowns and corsets, but somehow, they don’t make that choice very often, if at all. What the hell? C’mom, people! We need more!
So here are my top five actors I’d like to see in more historical costume movie/TV roles. They’re just so tantalizing, surely they could get their agents to hook them up with the BBC, ITV, PBS Masterpiece, or the like…
She’s had some ah-may-zing frock flick roles as Moll Flanders (1996), Mrs. Bennet in Lost in Austen (2008), and Dr. Blanche Mottershead in Upstairs, Downstairs (2012). She excels at unconventional characters in historical settings, meshing a touch of modern with historical sensibilities. I’d love to see more of this!
Yes, this is my high-school-era crush, shaddup, this is my blog. Cusack randomly played Edgar Allan Poe in a not-great horror flick The Raven (2012), and I really feel like he could do better historical-character-wise. He was also in the farcical early 20th-c. The Road to Wellville (1994) and starred in Woody Allen’s 1920s-set Bullets Over Broadway (1994). He has the aptitude, he just needs to stretch (because he’s still cute, OK!).
He always seems like a wasted opportunity in regards to frock flicks. Sure, Pierce Brosnan did the obligatory James Bond stuff, but unlike Timothy Dalton, he didn’t have a majorly historical costume past and barely did any frock flicks post or concurrent to Bond. His few credits include The Deceivers (1988), Robinson Crusoe (1997) and Around the World in 80 Days (1989), but really, he should be showing up in Downton Abbey or Victoria or something by now.
She’s really focusing on her Institute on Gender in Media, while also working in TV. But the few frock flick-y roles Davis has taken were fantastic, and she’s such a great actress, I’d just love to see her in historical costume more. Plus, she could influence productions to show more historical stories about women’s achievements throughout time. Pretty much all she’s done so far is A League of Their Own (1992) — stunningly important for women and just a great entertaining film — and Cutthroat Island (1995). We need you, Geena!
I’ve ranted about Armitage’s sad lack of cravat-worthy roles aside from North and South (2004) already, but it bears repeating. I don’t care if he played a dwarf in The Hobbit, he needs to suit up in a frock coat again! I HAVE NEEDS.
Who else needs to up their frock flick game?
Oscar Isaac. I desperately need to see him doing something 18th-century.
Kendra just did an MCM about him & apparently he has 2 frock flicks coming soon — https://www.frockflicks.com/mcm-oscar-isaac/
Glad to know I wasn’t the only one with a high school crush on John Cusack.
You are most definitely not alone!!
I have no arguments with this article.
Totally agree with you.
But I would add Liv Tyler (she was awesome as Lady Fitz in Season 2 of Harlots).
And are you doing a review of Harlots Season 2?
Liv Tyler has been showing up in frock flicks just recently (Gunpowder, Harlots), so I wonder if she’ll do more?
I just started watching Harlots S2, but I haven’t seen anything specifically new costume-wise to talk about! As soon as something pops up tho ;)
What episode are you up to?
Lol. I saw the title and my firth thought was Richard Armitage. I think we all have those needs.
We’ve seen Sam Heughan in a few historical shows/movies, but I’d like to see him in a full blown historical extravaganza much like the Paris part of season two Outlander.
“I think we all have those needs.” Lord, yes. I just sent a link to my daughter, who has been lusting after R.A. for years now.
He was also one sexy dwarf. Not that small men are not sexy, but LOTR dwarves do not tend toward the alluring.
I am interested in your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
I can’t unsee Alex Kingston as River Song. That said, she did rock a nice bustle outfit as that character.
To me Alex Kingston will always be Dr. Corday on ER. However, you also missed a Frock Flick. She Played Boudica in the Warrior Queen.
FYI…when are you ladies coming to Pennsic War? You could really teach some awesome classes on historical dressing.
Good list.. I’m trying to think who isn’t in but should be and I’m kind of drawing a blank, although I would say I quite like Amy Adams and would be interested in seeing her in some historical stuff. I don’t know if she’s done anything set before the 40s/50s (The Master), although the habits in Doubt were from early 19th century garb. I loved her in Arrival as a woman who is excellent and respected in her field and didn’t have to conform to stereotypes or, to be strong, basically be strong in traditionally masculine ways. I think, with that sensitivity and thoughtfulness, she could be interesting in a historical role.
Amy Adams was adorable in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, but that only goes back to the 1930s.
Oh, yes, I’d forgotten that one. It was a sweet flick. :-)
Paul Ready. He was so lovely in The Terror, I could 100% see him doing Dickens or something similar. Ditto Edward Hogg from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Harlots.
Alex Kingston has a small role in Sweet Land (set just after WWI), but she’s luminous in it. Not much costume content as it’s about farmers, but the entire film is so lovingly shot. I adore it.
I love that movie!!! For those who don’t know, it also stars Alan Cumming!
Alex Kingston! YES. She can do anything. Pierce Brosnan. YES! (The Deceivers, sigh). And unlike most of my peers, I LOVED “Cutthroat Island.”
Totally agree with Saraquill about Alex Kingston as River Song, that part was perfect for her. I would love to see Jason Isaacs and her do something together, he was wonderful in the not-so-good The Patriot. The two of them ooze sex from every pore. And John Cusack is just the bee’s knees as far as I’m concerned. He’s been in some crappy films but he’s always very watchable.
Richard Armitage — YES. He needs to be in MANY MANY THINGS.
My mother, when he turned up in The Hobbit, asked, “Who in their right mind would cover up Pretty Boy’s face with a fake beard and give him arms the size of tree trunks? Are they mad?” But his gorgeous blue eyes still shone through at me. ;)
Mads Mikkelsen because I love him (he is the best Hannibal Lector) and I loved the look of “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.”
I would like to add young French actress Nora Arnezeder, with her classic, aristocratic beauty.
When it comes to period films she did “Paris 36” from 2008 (the plot takes place in the 1930s) and my favourite period film “Angelique” from 2013 (the plot takes place in the years 1655-1660).
I always saw Alex Kingston as Claire in Outlander. But she was too old for the early seasons once they finally got around to making it. She’d be the perfect age now. Nothing against Caitroina.
OMG, you’re right. Lots of curly hair, not conventionally pretty but sexy, striking and tough minded. Damn.
I’ve never recovered from Richard Armitage in The Vicar of Dibley. Hardly a frock flick but he’s amazing.
Oh my word. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard as I did at “The Handsome Stranger”!!!
Desperately! More of that man, Richard Armitage. By all means!!!!