Woman's Own, Sept 29, 2003, by Bernard Bale

In our occasional series, actor Colin Firth reveals why he’s crazy about the US and hates TV soaps.


Colin Firth returns to the big screen on 21st November in the romantic comedy Love Actually.  The actor, whose first role was playing Jack Frost in a school play at the age of five and had lived in four different countries by his teens, shot to fame as Mr Darcy in a BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in 1995.
Colin loves . . .
I had piano lessons when I was young, and when my family moved to America, I started a band.  I never like to be far from music.  It can lift you up, pull you down, entertain you and  change your attitude.
I like practical jokes that don’t hurt anyone, and I like to hear laughter, whether it’s the sound of children having a good time, of friends enjoying an evening at a restaurant, or an audience reacting to a joke at the theatre.  There is nothing quite like laughter.
I love decent weather.  If you’re feeling a bit low and it’s raining or overcast, you feel a whole lot worse, but if the sun is shining, it can give you a totally different approach to the day
I like America because it’s a country with a positive attitude.  Heroes are acclaimed and celebrities are allowed to be celebrities without being hounded by people seeking to rubbish them.  In America, the glass is always half-full and there is always someone willing to help you up if you fall flat on your face—I like that.
Judi Dench
I am very careful when I look at a script, and it is rare that I agree to something that I later regret.  But a lot depends on whom you are working with as well.  For example,  how you work with Judi Dench and not enjoy every minute of it?
Boarding planes
As a child I grew up in several different countries because of my parents’ travelling.  By the time I was in my teens, I had lived in Nigeria, India, America and England.  They say that travel broadens the mind and it does, if you let it.  It is wonderful to be able to board a plane and, within a few hours, be in another country with a different culture to explore.
Colin loathes . . .

I don’t like it when someone comes up to me with a scrap of paper and a borrowed pen, and says, “Ere, sign this.”  I don’t mind being recognised or signing autographs, but there is a well-mannered way of asking which some people seem to forget.
Being branded a sex symbol
I once read about my having “smouldering looks”.  I thought it was one of the funniest things I had ever read.  What exactly are smouldering looks?  Everyone wants to be considered attractive, but I’ve never taken the sex symbol thing very seriously.
Mr Darcy
I have a loathing of being called Mr Darcy.  I played that part some years ago and I was very pleased with it, but I’ve been in many other productions since then.  To be called by the name of one of your characters, rather than by our own name, can be a little testing.
TV soaps
Soaps don’t do a lot for me.  Some seem to be perpetually miserable, and I just don’t see that as entertaining.  And you hardly ever get a happy ending because there is no ending—it just goes on and on!
Sore feet
Not only is it uncomfortable but it reminds me of my early years of trying to make it as an actor.  I lived in a bedsit in North London and walked everywhere to save what little money I had.  My shoes constantly had holes in them, and that gave me sore feet.  Now getting a stone in my shoe brings it all back.
I detest bigotry, racism and prejudice of any kind.  The diversity on this planet is something special, a privilege to live with.  We should live and let live in harmony, with respect for our differences.
I went through a spell of having my hair extra long, wearing scruffy clothes and withdrawing into myself.  I was broke at the time and couldn’t afford a haircut, but I think it was all part of life’s learning curve.  It taught me not to allow myself to get into that kind of situation again.

Thanks to JennieT
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