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Callum Scott Howells to play flamboyant Welsh aristocrat in ‘Madfabulous’

29 May 2024 3 minute read
Callum Scott Howells (Credit: RWCMD) / Henry Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey (Photo: Creative Commons)

It’s A Sin star Callum Scott Howells is to take on the role of flamboyant Welsh aristocrat Henry Paget in forthcoming movie Madfabulous.

Movie and entertainment website Deadline reports that the film is to be directed by Celyn Jones (The Almond And The Seahorse) and will chart the true story of the fifth Marquess of Anglesey who in the late 19th Century eschewed societal protocols of class and gender with his theatrical expressions and lavish social life, spending a multi-million pound fortune before his untimely death aged 29.

The notorious peer, dubbed “the dancing marquess”, was known for wearing voluminous robes, cross-dressing and his fluid sexuality and gender identity, all of which contributed to him becoming the black sheep of his aristocratic family.

Filming is due to get underway on Anglesey in August.

The movie is very much a Welsh affair with the Welsh actor and director on board, but the script always comes courtesy of Anglesey-born Lisa Baker in her feature film debut.

There is homegrown support for the movie via Ffilm Cymru Wales and the Welsh Government via Creative Wales.

The movie is described as “a riotous, uncompromising celebration of flamboyance, relationships, rebellion and blind generosity in the pursuit of love and applause.”

BAFTA nominee Callum Scott Howells said: “It is a real honour to be portraying Henry in this great story about the man and everything he represented. He is such a fascinating character; truly a rebel ahead of his time and has been inspiration to many artists throughout the years. I can’t wait to work with this great team to bring Henry to life on screen.”

Director Celyn Jones added: “Callum is the perfect actor for this role, a versatile and charismatic performer with a rockstar appeal… I’m sure Henry would approve. It’s a dream to be going back home to Anglesey to make this film, Lisa has written a fabulous script and I’m loving the creative team that’s gathering to help me tell this iconic tale about the original ’20th Century Boy’.

Who was Henry Paget?

Paget’s father died in 1898, leaving his son a vast inheritance. This included land that brought in a rent of £110,000 (around $19million in today’s money). Paget managed to burn through it, throwing cash away on jewels and furs. He built his own theatre to star in his own productions and also toured them around the UK.

He married briefly but his wife left him within a few weeks. She later had the marriage annulled, saying it had never been consummated.

There is no evidence to confirm Paget’s sexuality, but since his death, many have assumed he was queer.

By 1904, Paget was around three-quarters of a million dollars in debt ($90 million in today’s money). Declared bankrupt, he died in 1905 in Monte Carlo following a period of illness.

Conservative politician Vicary Gibbs wrote of Paget in 1910, saying that he “seems only to have existed for the purpose of giving a melancholy and unneeded illustration of the truth that a man with the finest prospects, may, by the wildest folly and extravagance, as Sir Thomas Browne says, ‘foully miscarry in the advantage of humanity, play away an uniterable life, and have lived in vain.’”

(Information courtesy of Queerty)


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Mr Williams
Mr Williams
19 days ago

“There is no evidence to confirm Paget’s sexuality, but since his death, many have assumed he was queer”

Surely you mean gay, or homosexual?

The word ‘queer’ is a slur that has been used to hurt gay people. It is very disrespectful to the memory of that man. Please mind your language!

Last edited 19 days ago by Mr Williams

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