busy...What A Girl Wants, Love Actually, Hope Springs. Any more you'd
to tell us about?
It's funny, sometimes you create that impression but you only have to
two a year to have it seem really busy. And actually by the standards
acting and the sheer good fortune which accompanies most actors—which
almost none—twice a year is a lot. Particularly if the projects are
By the standards of most people's lives working twice a year for three
months is not a lot at all really, so it's interesting. I tend to find
people say I've been busy if they notice the projects and actually my
has been has been exactly the same it just depends how many of them
and how many rise to the surface. Every so often you will do something
that will put more attention on you and I guess Bridget Jones was one.
of What A Girl Wants, said that she came over to England before filming
to convince you to take the part. What happened?
She did say
that it was to
the exclusion to anyone else, which is quite a seductive thing to hear
I must say, it really is, you can't ignore it. I didn't take an
in this initially. I didn't have any negative feelings about it. I just
had my eyes scanning the horizon for something and it didn't strike me
as the one initially.
How did you
Lord Henry Dashwood?
fairy tale stuff
and for me I was always slightly split about the whole issue of
fairytale escapism versus keeping a foot in reality just for that to
I think fairy tales don't have to be untruthful things but I think if
get too saccharine I get worried. And I actually found Henry strangely
believable and despite the trappings of this character and the
of this film, it didn't feel like some of the characters I've played
He's not Mark Darcy. To me he absolutely isn't.
It is a
modern day fairy
tale. And presumably you saw a lot in the message—be yourself—that you
Yes, I did. It
is told in
a fairytale kind of way, almost to the point of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
or something. But I think what I really liked about this film, more
I thought I would, is how much it owns up to being a fairytale. It's
a fairytale disguised as a heart rending drama at all, it practically
with Once Upon A Time...It gives you a very mythological view of London
and absolutely makes no bones about that. You walk out of a vast
and there you are on the King's Road or something or Oxford Street.
guy goes to work in a 1962 Rolls Royce every day, despite having
his title, and that's makes a different statement to us in Britain than
it does with Americans with a fairytale view and in a way you don't
to tread on that. If this really was an earnest pretence that England
really like that I think it would be dishonest. But I don't think it is.
your 17 year old American daughter Daphne is enormously popular in the
If you are
under 13 and a
girl that's been her market and she is a massive star to a particular
I didn't know her really, but my kids did. And she is a huge star the
over and Amanda is very clever. I saw her show after working with her
she is very good. I wouldn't want to compare her against her own
but to me she reminded me of Tracy Ullman, she has this multi talent
different characters and different voices, amazing sort of
and confidence and she commands that show. And she is moving out of
now, I mean, she is growing up, simply age wise, and I think things
this will help her. I think she will be perceived differently because
be a Bridget
Well, I have to
answer is as good as mine. It's a boring answer I have to give all of
time. I know they want to make it but there are so many variables and
so often there is a flurry of activity and it seems it's on and they
to do it. But it's quite a thing to organise. Like most films you have
a wish list of actors...
But I would
they want you and Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant to return, but that it
must be difficult to get you all at the same time?
Yes, I think
first time around because I think obviously they got their first
presume I was first choice [laughs]—but presumably they could have gone
ahead with other choices. Now it's been so well established and people
fell in love with Renee as Bridget it would be very difficult for them
to try to do it without her. So obviously they want all of us at the
time and they'll try. I think they want to do it this September.
would be happy
to do it if the script was right?
Yes. But I sort
myself on this. If you say to me would you rather do a sequel of
I did or something completely different if I can find something
different I would go for that [laughs]. Although not necessarily, I
in the abstract, I would say give me some variety. On the other hand,
not concerned enough with varying the act to go for a lesser project
because it feels different. It's an instinctive thing, if something
grabs you there can be a load of reasons why.
contributed to a collection
of stories collated by the author Nick Hornby. Are you still writing?
In a way. I'm
doing it the
way I've always been doing it, which is sort of tampering, putting it
in drawers half finished. Unless I've got a gun to my head ..
Hornby put a
gun to your head?
Yes, he did. He
was the first
person to make me...actually, I did a couple of articles a few years
for Harpers and someone said 'here's your deadline, don't let me
and I did it. I made a promise and I cursed and raged against it but I
did it. But I so resist doing the homework that I have to have that or
I won't do it and I can't inflict it on myself. I knocked that off very
quickly but I wrote one that wasn't working and got very, very deflated
and then that one came along and 'boom'.
I think I need
come along and say 'come on Colin..' Also it's too easy for me to earn
a living, I've got other options and that's another thing. You know,
that, make some money here. And actually I was writing that story (for
Hornby) during Bridget, I had to get it finished and Bridget gave me
of time, it wasn't a very difficult part to play. I phoned in an old
really [laughs] so I was able to concentrate on it a bit, it was a
of weeks during filming.