The Faith of an Actor: Mark Williams Talks “Father Brown” and His 30-Year Career

Mark Williams hasn’t portrayed the lovable Arthur Weasley, father of seven, in some time. While we will always love Williams for that role, there is no denying that his talents are seen elsewhere. The 60-year-old is currently on BBC One’s Father Brown, starring as the production’s main character. Father Brown is a Catholic priest who has a knack for solving crimes, specifically murder. The local police officer, who is supposed to be better at solving said murders, gets frustrated at the father’s success.

Williams sat down for an interview with local Pennsylvanian newspaper the Reading Eagle to discuss the show, his life, and his career. He says despite playing a Catholic priest on TV for eight seasons, he’s not a religious man.

I was brought up in the Church of England, so that’s part of my culture. But I don’t practice my religion. Father Brown believes in redemption, and he believes that we’re all God’s children, and he’s a man of faith, so I respect him.

There is one aspect of his life, however, where Williams says having some amount of faith is necessary. For some, being an actor doesn’t always come with job security.

Toward the end of every job, everybody gets a bit nervous about whether they’ll work again. So sometimes it’s a bit despairing. It’s not like you can go play a violin or write a short story or practice something or do some painting. Unless you’re in a production, you’re not working, so you’re not exercising your skills. So that becomes very difficult.

But he continues to act, not only for the love of it but also because he says it’s the only thing he can do. Williams began his professional acting career when he was in his 30s. Before then, he went through several jobs and only acted when he could.

I worked as a painter, at a stud farm with bulls. I worked in a psychogeriatric ward in a mental hospital. You may do [an acting] job, but it’s only for two weeks. So I was in my 30s before I got a regular job. For some reason, I stuck it out. It was blind faith and ignorance.

When Williams’s agent reached out to him for the role in Father Brown, he was excited to be offered such an opportunity. Even though he didn’t share the character’s sense of faith, he didn’t mind. The only problem Williams said he really faced with the character was, in fact, his height. Father Brown is described as being considerably shorter than Williams, who stands at just over six feet. To compensate, he simply says, “I have to act small.”

Not only have we seen Williams bring Arthur Weasley to life, but he also played the father of Rory Williams on Doctor Who for a short period of time, a vampire in later seasons of the BBC’s version of Being Human, and one of Cruella de Vil’s henchmen in the 1996 live-action movie 101 Dalmatians.

We look forward to seeing what Mark Williams plays in next. Until then, you can catch up on all those seasons of Father Brown, which is currently streaming on BritBox. Do you have a favorite role of Williams’s? Drop us a line and let us know!

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