It’s A Sin’s Callum Scott Howells is set to play a flamboyantly rebellious 19th century aristocrat

It’s A Sin’s Callum Scott Howells is set to play the flamboyantly rebellious aristocrat Henry Paget in upcoming film Madfabulous

The 25-year-old BAFTA nominee will play Paget, the fifth Marquess of Anglesey. The movie is set to start filming this summer.

The film charts the true story of Lord Paget as he spent his 29 years of life flouncing through society and squandering his multi-million-pound inheritance on a lavish social life while racking up massive debts, £544,000 (around £70 million today).

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

excited for this one https://t.co/QUS1OzVNzJ

— Callum Scott Howells (@callumshowells) May 29, 2024

Howells posted on X (Twitter), confirming his involvement in the project: “excited for this one.”

With the film’s announcement, Howells shared: “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.”

The Almond And The Seahorse director Celyn Jones will be at the helm of Madfabulous.  

Speaking about Howells’ casting, Jones stated: “Callum is the perfect actor for this role, a versatile and charismatic performer with a rockstar appeal… I’m sure Henry would approve.”

Who is Callum Scott Howells?

Callum Scott Howells in It’s A Sin. (Channel 4)

The Welsh actor and singer is best known for playing Colin Morris-Jones in Russell T Davies’ miniseries It’s a Sin.

Howells was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for his emotionally devastating performance. 

Howells has also made a name for himself in the world of theatre. He starred as The Emcee in Cabaret on London’s West End.

In 2023, Howells was cast in Gary Owen’s play as the titular Romeo in a modern reimagining of the Shakespeare classic, Romeo and Julie, held at the Dorfman Theatre.

As well as Madfabulous, Howells was cast in the Frankie Goes to Hollywood biopic, Relax, as singer Holly Johnson. 

Additionally, he is set to star in Michael Sheen‘s BBC drama The Way, opposite Luke Evans.

Was the fifth Marquess of Anglesey gay?

Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey (1875–1905) (Wikimedia Commons)

Many know of Paget as the man who splurged his fortune, but many also reflect on his life as a figure of unconventional gender identity in the 19th and 20th century.

Paget garnered quite a reputation for his theatrical lifestyle, as well as brushing off societal protocols of class and gender.

He spent thousands on jewels, furs, cars, boats, perfumes and potions, toys, medicines, dogs and horses.

Dubbed “the dancing marquess,” Paget became a black sheep in his aristocratic family. As many note, Paget was shunned by high society and described as the “most notorious aristocratic homosexual.”

He was said to wear voluminous robes and parade through London with a poodle dressed in pink ribbons tucked under his arm – many equating this to his fluid sexuality and gender identity.

Paget’s love for dramatics continues as he converted his family’s chapel into a theatre, named the Gaiety Theatre. He regularly played the lead in performances of Oscar Wilde‘s An Ideal Husband and William Shakespeare‘s Henry V.

Paget married his cousin Lilian Florence Maud Chetwynd in 1898. Was she a beard? Who can say.

Paget died in 1905 following a long illness with his ex-wife by his side. After his death, his personal papers were destroyed by the Paget family, leaving much of his personal life a mystery.

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