Smouldering, Byronic, ringletted hero. Smouldered in crippling nether garments through Middlemarch, Cold Comfort Farm, The Woodlanders. Hates the smouldering tag and has tried non-smouldery roles in films like Martha - Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence. Now attempting not to smoulder in the title role in Macbeth on stage, which has received mixed reviews. School contemporary of Patsy Kensit, has stepped out with Kate Winslet, and ran away from Madonna half way through a "date" at Le Caprice. Has just married fashion buyer girlfriend Yasmin Abdallah in a low-key register office ceremony, and went straight to work after the big event. "It's very exciting but there's a play to put on."
Dark-haired, chiselled, pouting smoulderer. "Impossibly handsome", "ridiculously handsome", "smoulderingly handsome" etc. Hunky young gypsy cleaned up and put in a frock coat. Bags-under-the-eyes new-lad scruff. "I have my friends round, shout, throw things, drink beer, watch telly," he confesses shyly.
Likes to point out earlier roles as a Scottish heroin addict and a phone sex-pest, with absolutely no smouldering involved. And! Shock! He longs for short hair: "I look like an Eighties queen". Directors don't agree. "They always say, `No, dear, leave it, hmmm?'" His elegantly cropped bride has less hair than he does.
Turned up at Richmond College with two-tone hair, nail varnish and Victorian frock coat. Slept in a loft above the stage at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Gathered the obligatory inferiority complex. "I have a profound feeling of ugliness." Smouldering ugliness? Nah.
Denies any desire to make it big in the US. "You end up worrying about paying your swimming-pool cleaner. You play villain number four in a mindless movie to support this lifestyle," he says astutely. With plenty of Austens and Eliots ripe for the adapting, he need never sully his art - as long as he keeps smouldering.