But, Dancy, 32, has done something rather more interesting with his career.By choosing to play a series of left-field roles, he has proved that he can do characters as well as the more showy leads. And for so long they're like koala bears, you just feel a physical responsibility to be there for them to cling to.John Truscott goes to Borneo to work with the Iban.When Zoe abruptly leaves him and New York for a job in Los Angeles, Nick comes up with a strategy to get her back: taking a job as a soccer coach of a junior-high team. Then, primarily through Hector, the team's best player, Nick engages. Pieces from everywhere to tell childish story about a loser and his wins. It is not fake or pink but each scene is known and learned. An ordinary movie about individual metamorphose and the end as chocolate cake. In the process, he meets an ER doc who interests him, goes behind Hector's father's back to keep the lad on the team, and realizes he's conflicted when he gets the chance to reconnect with Zoe. Moral lesson, love story, slices of sport beauty and romance.
With acclaimed performances in costume dramas, Daniel Deronda, David Copperfield and Madame Bovary, he was never out of a frock coat.
And now he has two more left-field roles, first as an alcoholic in Evening, and then as a geeky computer expert in The Jane Austen Book Club.
"Obviously they're wildly different characters but they both share weakness in a sense," he acknowledges.
"There are so many scripts where they don't allow the male lead any kind of flaw, which renders it very boring." We meet in the library of a London boutique hotel.
Slender, athletic, with that fashionable tousled look, Dancy has exquisite manners. At times you feel this could be an Oxford tutorial rather than a film junket.