COLIN FIRTH: ENGLISH CANDY
(Text by Tor Milde)
He comes from a nicely furnished home, and his upbringing is thoroughly Victorian. His parents voted for Maggie Thatcher, and he is a supporter of the snobbish Arsenal football team. But we've found one fault: the very English heartthrob Colin Firth should have been Hugh Grant! You will soon be able to see Colin in The Importance of Being Earnest.
Colin Firth doesn't like to be reminded he's English, even if he's one
of the most English actors you can imagine. Not only is he at times unbearably
English in Bridget Jones's Diary: he's irresistibly English in Pride and
Prejudice, football-English in Fever Pitch and snobbishly English in The
Importance of Being Earnest. And if we add that two of his most successful
films are The English Patient and Shakespeare In Love, the picture becomes
complete. He's 42 and has recently become a father, but he doesn't consider
that particularly "English".
"My wife is Italian," he tries. "And our son's called Luca. It's true: a genuine Italian name. With a 'c'!"
But his tweed jacket and a designer cap on his head make all the excuses
really unnecessary. Women turn around to stare at Colin Firth. We've seen
it for ourselves. They drop their coffee cups and walk into lamp posts
when Colin's 183-centimetre
tall, slim figure strolls round Manhattan.
"I've put on weight," he tries again. He's on the defensive, and he doesn't like it. He corrects me when I suggest that The Importance of Being Earnest is one of Wilde's best plays. "It is THE best," he says without hesitation.
The story is as banal as it is elegantly funny: two men in pursuit of their respective girls lead double lives, each as the fictitious Ernest. Complications and misunderstandings follow, but it all ends perfectly well.
Colin is fabulous as the awkward snob Jack, but happily admits that
his personal taste is not in costume drama and elegant English landscapes.
He prefers a good comedy, with a rougher type of dialogue than that which
the old Oscar came up with a hundred years ago. "But I would definitely
watch this movie," he adds hastily. "This is the traditional British theatre
and the setting and dialogue have not been modernized."
THE OBJECT OF BRIDGET'S DROOLING
Colin Firth is not the biggest name among British male film actors and he is glad about that. He claims that it makes choosing roles easier, because the risk of failure is smaller. But if he were number one...
"As the author J.B. Priestley once said: I've never been out of fashion,
because I've never been in fashion. I think that's me."
Oh well, time for Colin to shake off his modesty once and for all. We mention Bridget Jones to him and watch what happens. Yes, he's smiling. And another woman drops her cup of coffee.
"All right, I've probably become a little bit better known after
that movie and my earnings have gone up a bit."
"And will you appear in the sequel?"
"Well... maybe even as myself?"
Colin Firth, actor and heartthrob, was interviewed by a drooling Bridget in The Edge of Reason, Helen Fielding's second book about Bridget Jones.
When he's not working, he spends his time with his family, which includes his 18-month old son Luca, his wife Livia, and the elder son Will. Will's mother is the American actress Meg Tilly.
Colin says he's been fortunate in that he's never had to worry about his income. "I've never been out of work since drama school. So I've been lucky." And he knocks on the table. "But you should have played Will in 'About a Boy'. It would have been perfect for you." "Yes, it would have, wouldn't it? I'd have done anything for that part - and who wouldn't? But they needed a bigger star than me, and Hugh Grant does a fantastic job in that film."
Colin Firth. Very English. And far too polite.