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And he has just shot a Hollywood rom-com, The Jane Austen Book Club, which is destined to be a huge hit when it opens here in November.
But he has actively courted a different type of role."I like escapism as much as the next person, and I pay good money for it quite often," he tells me, "but the real heroes of cinema are basically all anti-heroes." Dancy is interested in ambiguous characters who don't necessarily command your full sympathy.
With acclaimed performances in costume dramas, Daniel Deronda, David Copperfield and Madame Bovary, he was never out of a frock coat.
He even modelled for a Burberry "country house" campaign shot by Mario Testino.
"So I did say to Claire 'look, stop telling me about it'. 'Please don't tell me what you did today' is not a good line… Now I read the scripts as they come out."Dancy, along with Danes and baby Cyrus, is briefly in his own homeland, the UK, "seeing family in a military, organised, slightly imperfect way", and also promoting his new TV show, Hannibal, the television spin-off featuring everybody's favourite serial killer, Dr Hannibal Lecter – here played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale).
Based on Thomas Harris's source novels, specifically Red Dragon (the only one to feature Dancy's character, FBI agent profiler Will Graham), the 13-part drama series is the brainchild of Bryan Fuller, who created NBC's Heroes.
Indeed, at this stage, there is a mutual admiration between Graham and Lecter. "There is a cheery disposition to our Hannibal," he says. If the audience didn't know who he was, they wouldn't see him coming.Partially because I was 13.”He concedes, though, that “the other side of that coin was there was a theatre for me to stumble into, amazingly well stocked with people and enthusiasm and money, I guess. I come from a family of teachers, primarily in public schools, so there is a sense of identity floating through my family.” Boarding school is good preparation for an actor’s life: “It makes it easier to live out of a bag.