By MARK KENNEDY, AP Drama Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- To find their Mr. Darcy, the Guthrie Theater in Minnesota has turned to a Mad Man.
Vincent Kartheiser, who plays the malcontent Pete Campbell on AMC's "Mad Men," will star this summer in a new Guthrie production of "Pride and Prejudice" as the brooding hero of Jane Austen's most famous novel.
"It's interesting playing a character that people have such strong feelings about before I've even begun playing him," he said Friday by phone from Los Angeles. "I don't have a lot of experience playing famous characters and it's an interesting expectation that lays on my head."
Kartheiser is a native of Minneapolis and first appeared at the Guthrie in 1986 at age 7 as Tiny Tim in "A Christmas Carol." He returned to play small roles in the company's 1990 productions of "Henry V" and "Henry IV."
"I think my biggest scene I was being carried around dead," he joked.
His film credits include "Untamed Heart" with Marisa Tomei, and "Little Big League," "The Indian in the Cupboard," "Crime and Punishment in Suburbia" and 2011's thriller "In Time."
Kartheiser has often dipped in and out of theater projects, most recently playing the lead in the world premiere of "The Death of the Novel" at the San Jose Repertory Theatre last year. In 2005, he was in New York at the Cherry Lane Theatre in "Slag Heap."
"I started returning to the stage in my late 20s to get back in touch with my roots and to challenge myself," he said. "It really is our medium."
"Pride and Prejudice," which will be directed by the Guthrie's leader Joe Dowling, will play from July 6-Aug. 31. It will mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Austen's novel which has been adapted into films, miniseries and even a Broadway musical.
The Guthrie did "Pride and Prejudice" in the 2003-04 season with an adaptation by James Maxwell, which was revised by Alan Stanford. This new version has been adapted for the stage by Simon Reade.
Set in late 18th-century England, "Pride and Prejudice" concerns Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, who try to find wealthy husbands for their five daughters. At its heart, it is a love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy, an aloof, unmarried wealthy landowner seen by many as having as an excessive pride. Who will play Elizabeth has not been revealed.
In real life, Kartheiser is engaged to "Gilmore Girls" alum Alexis Bledel, who appeared on the show as the mentally unstable mistress of Kartheiser's character. He wouldn't reveal if a date for the wedding has been made.
"I wouldn't tell you even if I could," he said.