A great deal of fuss has been made over the clothes
Colin Firth has worn on screen. A wet shirt
that clung to his chest in the
1995 TV version
of Pride and Prejudice set women atwitter on both sides of the Atlantic.
Then there was the reindeer sweater he
posted in Bridget
Jones’s Diary. "I actually wanted to keep that," says the
father of two, who dons a more serious wardrobe for the new comedy What
a Girl Wants. Befitting his charmingly accidental sex appeal, Firth
doesn't take fashion too seriously. In fact fellow Brit Rupert Everett
once kidded him that he was "far too heterosexual about these things."
You play Dad to
Bynes in What a Girl Wants. Was that a change of pace for you?
I play a lord who has
renounce his title in order to stand for an election. But basically it
is a fairy tale about a father and a daughter. It's loosely based on a
Vincente Minelli film that was made in the fifties called The
Débutante, with Rex Harrison [and Sandra Dee]. It's not
surprising territory for me—my character is one of those men who's as
defined by his reserve as anything else.
wife, Livia Giuggioli, is Italian and you've lived in Italy. How would
you compare Italian style with British?
The part of Italy that I
more of an emphasis on classicism, rather than on anything avant-
I don't know Milan. I see a lot of V-neck polo sweaters with the shirt
underneath. They like stuff that fits; it's much more about that than
courageous. A lot of Italians come to London for the novelty of seeing
the weirdness—the fact that people are prepared to forfeit elegance in
order to make an impact.
Do you remember when
experimenting with fashion?
Oh, yes. I was constantly
to fit in. It was always a little bit out of reach, a little bit too
But I think fashion is about that. There has to be something that is a
little bit inaccessible about it in order for it to remain elite. If it
is for everyone, it is pointless.
How do you like to see
It's so case-specific. I
bare midriff thing can be absolutely sexy, or it can be ridiculous. I
like the sense of the unexpected, to see a woman dressed in a way that
makes a mystery of what her body is like.
Did you worship any
Well, seeing Marc Bolan
band T. Rex] on TV when I was about 8 was a big moment. I had never
glitter under the eyes before on anyone. He was androgynous, and it was
interesting to me because he was pretty like a girl but he was actually
extremely masculine. And I liked his music. But it was also about
him onstage being adored by people. It prompted me to take guitar
which were spectacularly unsuccessful.
What's your greatest
CDs. And I do own a lot of
more than I can read. Books and music are the only things that I
CDs have you
Aqualung. Badly Drawn
Boy I've got. I keep at it. It is a continual area of obsession. I go
different phases of preoccupation. It's very juvenile in a way. I'll
a Caribbean obsession, then West African, and then it'll be jazz.
Is there anyone
who makes you
I think I would
struggle a bit if
I met Bob Dylan. Anybody who has had something to do with critical
of your life would be tough. Dylan was probably playing somewhere the
time I fell in love or had a drink. The same with the Stones or the
So how do you
handle it when people
gush over meeting you?
delightful and light
and easy, and people are just being complimentary in a very unassuming
and pleasant way. Sometimes it's spooky and they're weird, and I don't
really know how to deal with it. In the end I just try to be as