In person, Hugh Dancy is polite, mild-mannered and blessed with the kind of handsomeness that doesn't scream for attention. So, what’s this low-key leading man doing starring in what’s been called “Broadway’s most erotic show” (Venus in Fur) as well as a “Victorian vibrator romantic comedy” (the forthcoming feature film Hysteria)?
“In one’s life and career, there are funny moments of confluence like that,” Dancy told Broadway.com, adding with a laugh, “I can promise you, there’s not a plan—there was no [attitude of] ‘I’ve gotta get sexy in 2011.’ In both cases, the scripts arrived, and I thought, How can I not do this? How can I not make a costume drama about the invention of the vibrator? And the virtues of [Venus in Fur] speak for themselves. David Ives’ writing is so strong that you just careen between physical comedy—outright farce at times—and moments of dark sexual tension. There’s a huge amount going on in this play.”
Venus in Fur, which begins previews on October 13 at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, stars Dancy as a playwright/director and Nina Arianda as an actress who strikes sparks when she arrives to audition for his sexy play. The as-yet-unreleased Hysteria co-stars theater vets Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and London musical star Sheridan Smith.
On top of all that, Dancy’s wife, Emmy winner Claire Danes, is starring in the new Showtime drama series Homeland, which debuted on October 2. “It’s fantastic,” he says of the show, in which Danes plays a CIA agent and mentee of Mandy Patinkin. “I've seen it, and it is a grown-up, intelligent, unpatronizing drama. It’s brilliant.”