Despite a decade's worth of work under his belt, Matthew Goode isn't as recognised as you might expect.
Odd really – with his piercing eyes and striking features, he certainly doesn’t have an unforgettable face, and he’s worked with the likes of Woody Allen and Tom Ford, sharing screen time with Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson and Amy Adams.
But his surprising anonymity could be about to end. The 34-year-old has recently been livening up Monday evenings in BBC Two drama Dancing On The Edge, playing music journalist Stanley Mitchell, and will soon be seen starring in Park Chan-Wook’s thriller Stoker, alongside Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska.
He’s also just signed to play papal secretary Bernard Koch in Ridley Scott’s new pilot, The Vatican, opposite Zero Dark Thirty actor Kyle Chandler and A Good Day To Die Hard’s Sebastian Koch.
“I’m having a bit of a resurgence at the moment, with everything happening at the same time,” he says.
The Devon-born actor, who now lives in Kent with long-term girlfriend Sophie Dymoke and their four-year-old daughter Matilda, is thrilled about the TV show.
“It’s quite exciting, isn’t it? It’s Ridley Scott so of course I am excited,” he says.
“I’m slightly frightened as well, because he’s going to direct the pilot and if it doesn’t go into a series, I am probably going to blame myself. His back catalogue is pretty fool-free.
“I love Kyle Chandler so I’m excited to meet him, and Sebastian Koch. It films in England too, so it’s ticking a lot of things. As a family man, I’m like, ‘Great! It’s perfect’, so we will see. Let’s hope it does well.”
Stoker – the first English language film of Park, the Korean filmmaker responsible for Oldboy, Thirst and Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, from a script written by Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller – is sure to do well, both critically and at the box office.
The film follows the timely arrival of mysterious Uncle Charlie (played by Goode) after India Stoker (Wasikowska) loses her beloved father on her 18th birthday, in a seemingly tragic accident.
“Charlie is a slippery customer. He comes in at the beginning and you’re not quite sure about him,” says Goode. “I don’t want to say he’s a psychopath but there’s something slightly odd.”
The actor enjoyed delving into the personality of his alter ego: a man both charming and mesmerising, with an intense influence over the Stoker household.
“This kind of script doesn’t come around every day. It has all the right ingredients to move an audience, as well as to scare and provoke them. It’s a beautiful love story in a twisted way,” he explains.
“Nothing is what it appears. Charlie is extremely unbalanced and he has feelings for India that are not all uncle-like.
“The challenge for me was that rather than being simply evil, he has to have a centre to him that we like, which is disorienting and quite scary. It was very interesting to try and get the psychology of him right.”
In one beautifully-shot scene, uncle and niece play the piano together and by the end of the song, the younger relative is trembling.
“I hadn’t played the piano since I was about 11, that’s 20-odd years ago so I did need some training,” says Goode. “I used to play Bach’s Minuet In G Major for grade three, and had to start back with a Philip Glass arpeggio piece.”
Once the cameras were off, Goode would switch back into normal mode.
“I’m not method,” he says, “so it would be quite disturbing if I stayed in character the whole time. I take it quite seriously during the hours of work, and then afterwards I like to think I’m quite good fun.”
He would often go out with his co-stars. “I love Mia – she is talented but also really good fun. She’s kind of like my little sister. We used to go out – I had my missus and my family over when we were making this, and we always used to get a babysitter and then go out, listen to country and western music and get drunk.”
The Goodes also got together with Kidman and her family. “We were filming in Nashville, which is her home, so I think we were quite lucky to see her in such a relaxed state.
“She showed us around and on Halloween our kids went to a pumpkin patch together,” says Goode.
“She’s such a big star, you know, and has been for such a long time.
“You go with preconceptions like, ‘I wonder if she’s going to be starry?’
“And actually she’s nothing like that.
“She’s completely lovely. I just haven’t got a bad word to say about her.”