You’d think Ben Chaplin would be more famous now

February 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm (Whatever happened to ...?) (, , , , )

So, the other night, I was watching one of my favorite movies that doesn’t have any explosions in it, Washington Square (which, coincidentally, is based on one of my favorite books: Washington Square), and as I was cursing the mercenary lover for being so horrible to poor, sweet Catherine, I wondered: Hey, whatever did happen to that guy, anyway?

And how could he break poor Catherine's heart like that?

That guy, dear readers, was Ben Chaplin.

So today, we address the mystery of whatever did happen to that guy, and also, is he related to that famous silent film actor?

Ha, ha, no, the other one.

According to Ben Chaplin’s IMDb biography, he has charm to spare and unassumingly handsome looks, so I think we’ll assume that was written by a completely unbiased source. At any rate, it also claims he was born in July of 1970, which is probably true. Actually, he is rather handsome, so maybe it’s all true. And unbiased!

"Unassumingly handsome looks," yeah, that's how I'd describe it.

His father was an engineer and his mother was a drama teacher, so you’ve got to wonder how those two even met. At any rate, young Chaplin became interested in acting after being in a school play. He made his television debut in 1990, and got his first notable role in 1992.

Oh, I feel like, at this point, I probably should have mentioned that he’s British, so all of this was occurring in England, which is why you’ve never heard of Bye Bye Baby. Moving right along, he had roles in more British television series, including one called A Fatal Inversion, which alternately sounds like it is awesome or about math. In 1993, he made the leap to feature films with a role in The Remains of the Day as Charlie, Head Footman.

Head Footman is a funny job title.

In 1995, people really began to notice the charming and unassumingly handsome Chaplin when he starred as Matthew in Game-On, a British TV series with an extraneous hyphen. (He was in another TV series that year, Resort to Murder, which I can only hope was about a tropical resort with murder!, as Joshua Penny. But, really, it was his role as Matthew that people, apparently, remember.)

Well, that, and the oodles of charm.

Next up was some movie called Feast of July, followed by The Truth About Cats and Dogs, which I swear had Jeneane Garofolo in it, but I’m too lazy to look up. Also the spelling of her name.

This role was followed by Morris Townsend in 1997’s Washington Square, which is a great period piece and Jennifer Jason Leigh is so good in it, and you should watch it just for the varying shades of stink-eye that Albert Finney gives Maggie Smith alone. Really! There’s no gunfights, but it’s a good movie.

True story, guys! When I went to New York, I made my friend who lives there take me to the Algonquin and to Washington Square Park, where I basked in the glory of great, dead writers.

He followed that role up with The Thin Red Line, and then several movies I’ve never heard of, including 2005’s Chromophobia, which also had Ralph Fiennes and Ian Holm, so you’d think I’d’ve paid it a bit more attention, because I love those guys. He continued his streak of roles in what I can only assume are independent films, including what appears to have been a Zac Efron vehicle, Me and Orson Welles. This is seriously the first I’ve ever heard of that movie.

Huh. Looks like Claire Danes was in it, too. Still not ringing any bells.

2009 brought Dorian Gray, which I guess I should’ve known had been made into a film, but I didn’t. In 2010, he was in Ways to Live Forever and London Boulevard. In 2011, he played Edgar Allen Poe in Twixt, which leads me to believe he is purposely picking out films that people have never heard of. (And, yes, by “people,” I mean “myself.”)

Ohhhh, it was an ART film. (Or horror?)

And now I’m feeling guilty about not looking up The Truth about Cats and Dogs, so it also starred Uma Thurman and it’s spelled Janeane Garofalo.

Since 2011, it looks like Chaplin has gone back to television, made another indie film and done a lot of stage work. So there you go: he’s working steadily, happily and isn’t dating Embeth Davidtz anymore. Also, I always assumed she was British, but I guess she’s American. At least I know how to spell her name, though.

Oh, yeah, and he's not related to this guy.



  1. Alison Allen said,

    A fatal Inversion is an incredible thriller staring Jeremy Northan (The book is by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine and worth reading too). I loved Chaplin since Game On a sitcom!!!

    • lokifire said,

      But is it a thriller about MATH?

  2. Knitty Gritty Homestead said,

    He was also lovely in “The Waterhorse”…have loved Ben Chaplin for years!

    • lokifire said,

      He seems like he’d be quite lovely all the time.
      I really expected him to be much more famous than he is.

  3. tris said,

    Always be remembered as “matt” to me – a
    great British cult comedy

  4. John said,

    You are without doubt the most clueless fill r to write anything in the public domain about movies or tv.

  5. Carol CLARKE said,

    Embeth Davidtz is SOUTH AFRICAN!!

    • lokifire said,

      Thanks! I mean: THANKS!!

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