Robin J. Schwartz
June 07, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Name: Rufus Sewell. Age: 28. Don’t Miss: His droll turn as Seth Starkadder, a rural Rudolph Valentino who loves the lassies — and adores the movies — in Cold Comfort Farm. Last Seen: As Carrington’s frustrated paramour. Recent Activities: Stocked up on English-language videos on the Rome set of Marshall Herskovitz’s The Honest Courtesan — to guard against the ”bald men and trampolining” on Italian TV. Next Up: Fortinbras in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and a vicious cardsharp with a sweet tooth in the film adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Victory. Aspirations: ”To be able to play any part that’s thrown at me.” Career Advice: ”I’d love to see him use that sharp wit in more contemporary material,” says Donna Isaacson, senior VP of casting at Twentieth Century Fox. ”He lends himself so well to period pieces because of those soulful eyes, but this is a very modern young man who [could] get his hands around some modern material, and modern women.”

Name: Eileen Atkins. Age: 61. Don’t Miss: How she takes gloom to brilliantly barmy new depths as Seth Starkadder’s long-suffering mother, Judith, in Cold Comfort Farm. Last Seen: As the loyal secretary to a hirsute Jack Nicholson in Wolf; on Broadway as the glamorous Leonie in Indiscretions. Recent Achievements: Wrote her first screenplay (though she cocreated Upstairs, Downstairs, she didn’t write it), an adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway. Shooting starts in July with Oscar-winning Antonia’s Line director Marleen Gorris. Next Up: Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman, opposite Paul Scofield and Vanessa Redgrave, at London’s Royal National Theatre. Aspirations: ”This face looks gloomy but actually there’s a cheerful person behind it. I long to do more comedy.” Career Advice: Says Isaacson, ”She could have the film career of a Maggie Smith if she wanted, but I’m sure Maggie Smith feels she’d like to have the career of Eileen Atkins.”

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