Stepping into Prince Philip's shoes could be the big break Tobias Menzies was waiting for
The London-born and bred former student at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Menzies is not really a fresh face on television, neither is he new to the artform.
A strong jawline and the same lopsided smile, Netflix has almost outdone themselves with their latest casting - English actor Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip through the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed, it wouldn't have been an easy task finding the right fit for TV's most questionable character, as of now.
But going by fan reaction to the next Matt Smith of the epic royal drama, it appears like Menzies was just what 'The Crown' needed.
"Best news I've heard all day!!! Super excited for Season 3!!" exclaimed one fan as soon as the official announcement broke on Netflix's official Twitter account. A second follower of the series chimed in, writing, "This was a genius move to cast @TobiasMenzies! He is incredible! Makes me less sad to lose the incredible Matt Smith!"
"Not going to lie I feel like Matt Smith always leaves a show too soon but I’m definitely buzzing to see what Tobias Menzies brings to the role of Prince Philip," added another fan, echoing the thought that is, currently, on every keen Crown watcher's mind.
Of course, Menzies is not the first name to pop when one think's of Smith's replacement, especially after the controversial portrayal of the Queen consort in the second season.
Before him, in fact, heavy-weight suggestions like Hugh Laurie, David Tennant, Paul Bettany, and even Matthew Macfadyen have been thrown around - and yet anyone vaguely acquainted with the 44-year-old actor's choice of roles (read: Frank and Jonathan Randall from Outlander) can foresee Menzies adding his own brand of intrigue to the character in the future.
The London-born and bred former student at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Menzies is not really a fresh face on television, neither is he new to the artform. Born into a family of a teacher and radio producer, his tryst with acting, however, began early and unexpectedly.
"Interestingly, my first job out was a screen job on long-running medical drama here called Casualty," speaking with Interview magazine, the actor whose initial roles were in British shows like 'Foyle's War and Midsomer Murders', had said.
He continued, "I got a semi-regular part, so it was a great emergency training in screen [work]. It meant that I could immerse myself in that medium and get a lot of exposure to being in front of a camera."
The role catapulted Menzies into the limelight and soon the actor, still dabbling with theater, would find himself playing the iconic Shakespearean character of Brutus in award-winning HBO/BBC series 'Rome' that run from 2005 to 2007.
However, the actor born of stage stayed true to his roots and went on to appear in many successful productions. Few notable mentions include his performance in 'The History Boys' (at the Royal National Theatre), a role in 'Three Sisters' that even secured him the prestigious Ian Charleson Award; and 2011's production of 'The Children's Hour' starring opposite Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss.
Now, in a natural progression for an actor who has proven his mettle in theater, Menzies followed in the footsteps of artists, who have successfully turned their stage experience into a lucrative Hollywood career. He went on to appear in several lesser-known movies, like 'The Low Down' and 2004's 'Finding Neverland', before finally landing a prominent role as Villiers (M's assistant) in the spy blockbuster, 'Casino Royale'.
But recognition as an actor came his way only after he decided to take on the fascinating dual characters of Frank Randall and his 18th Century ancestor Jonathan Randall in Starz network's time-spanning drama. In the contrasting roles, Menzies shined and even made for an unforgettable narrative.
“There are definitely elements of Outlander — the more romantic side of it — that would not be my natural taste in TV,” the actor had said once adding, “which is another reason I like the Jack character. It’s important to have that darkness," referring to his polar-opposite characters, who certainly made for great TV fodder.
Moving on from one drama to another, Menzies, was more recently seen in the hit HBO fantasy series, 'Game of Thrones'. Starring as the younger brother of Lady Catelyn Stark and former Lord of Riverrun, Edmure Tully, the TV star's most memorable moment on the show, however, happened to be that Red Wedding episode - where after a series of unfortunate incidents he was ultimately taken hostage by the Freys.
"He’s obviously somewhere in a prison, he’s still around alive somewhere," he told Digital Spy recently, without giving out much information about the upcoming season 8.
Another, more recent and prominent TV appearance for Menzies was the limited edition British television series, The Night Manager; starring Tom Hiddleston as the former-soldier-turned-hotelier Jonathan Pine. While Menzies' role didn't span across the length and breadth of the series, he did make heads turn as the British intelligence director Geoffrey Dromgoole.
Interestingly, it was Menzies who bossed around multiple award-winning actress Olivia Colman's Angela Burr (a secret service officer) in the BBC One drama. With the two stars coming together again - Coleman replaces Claire Foy in Netflix's The Crown as Queen Elizabeth II - Menzies' acting graph, most certainly, seems to be coming to a full circle.
And we are not complaining at all!