The New Brit Pack

The Face, July 1993

Rufus Sewell has the brand of self-confidence that comes from knowing you're heading where you want, whenever you want. A string of encouraging notices greeted his first stage performances, and a memorable screen debut in "Twenty-One" has ensured that in his short career since leaving the Central School of Speech and Drama, the 25- year-old has rarely been out of work. It's also led him to being courted by LA agents, even if he maintains the traditional and unconvincing scepticism about the allure of Hollywood. Growing up between Twickenham, Soho and Wales, Sewell was a reluctant - and frequently truant schoolboy, and his sights were always set on acting. "I kind of decided what I wanted to do early on: I was about 15. It was the only thing I could see myself being interested in 30 years on."

It was "Twenty-One" that made Sewell a name. Playing Patsy Kensit's Glaswegian smackhead boyfriend, he exhibited a gaunt vulnerability that made women want to mother him and added some dramatic weight to the rather self-conscious plot. He spent a month in Glasgow preparing for the role but dismisses any notion of Daniel Day Lewis-style immersion in a part. "I basically do what I can to get the part right and it varies from job to job," he explains. "It's a matter of trusting your imagination." And how did he find Patsy Kensit? "Very nice. I was almost disappointed. My friends called me a wanker when I told them that." Over the next few months we'll be seeing a lot of Sewell: he's playing alongside Sam West in Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia" at the National and there are upcoming appearances in the BBC's "MiddleMarch" and Michael Winner's latest movie "Dirty Weekend", an adaptation of Helen Zahavi's acclaimed female serial killer novel in which he plays a telephone sex pest. "It's what I've always wanted: a healthy mix."


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