Okay, that’s not what we talked about. I’ve copied this from Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones–The Edge of Reason. You might remember that wonderful Bridget Jones has a crush on the real-life British actor Colin Firth. And, in the second book, she even gets to interview him for an English magazine. As she is so in love with him, she interviews him in her typical Bridget Jones-like manner and behaves like a complete idiot.
Through these two books Helen Fielding has made
Colin Firth into a prototype of the unreachable idol. He actually
object of desire in England after playing Mr Darcy in the 1995 TV
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
(This is what Bridget and her friends watch
He seems to be a man for whom you might lose
your senses. Who makes you do lots of stupid things with just one deep
out of his dark eyes. Well, we’ll see.
The interview takes place in the exquisite
Dorchester Hotel opposite London’s Hyde Park. After yesterday’s nonstop
the sun is shining today. Colin Firth, 43 years old, is sitting on a
couch. His right hand is lying on his chin while he’s talking and
mouth. He signals distance throughout. Restraint. He doesn’t open up
sure. He isn’t impolite though. One could easily feel, when we shake
goodbye, the better part of his afternoon is to come.
Okay, but he does look good. Very good. Dark
curly hair, dark eyes, wine-coloured velvet jacket. If Bridget could
But it’s not about her, it’s about Colin and
his new movie Girl With A Pearl
Earring, starting September 23rd. It’s an
adaptation of Tracy Chevalier’s book that tells the imagined story
behind Jan Vermeer’s
painting. Firth plays the Dutch painter, Scarlett Johansson (Lost in
Translation) stars as the maid who poses for this painting.
There is a
magnetic attraction between the two, which the film portrays in a
soft way that is hardly ever seen nowadays in movies.
Every shot of this movie is set up to look like
a Vermeer painting. Girl With A
Pearl Earring received a well-deserved Oscar
nomination for best cinematography. The award ultimately went to Master and Commander.
Colin Firth said he has seen about fifteen of
Vermeer’s paintings thus far. That’s quite a few, considering that only
exist throughout the world. One of them “The Geographer” can be seen in
Frankfurt. “We shot in Luxemburg, not far away from Frankfurt, and I
asked myself ‘Should I take a free day to drive there and see it?’”
finished filming, Colin Firth still hadn’t made it to Frankfurt.
But he is quite interested in paintings. He is
from an academic family; his father is a history professor, his mother
religious studies. Colin, his brother and his sister grew up without
reading and discussions were encouraged at home. Naturally they went to
together, and if Colin Firth is in a new place “I am likely to visit a
Especially in Italy. He lives there part time
with his wife (in Bridget,
she is still his girlfriend) Livia Guiggioli, a
documentary filmmaker, with whom he has two children. He also has a
son with his former wife [sic]
“In Italy, I’ve
seen great art,” he says very
nonchalantly of course and without much enthusiasm. “But I don’t
scientifically. It either works or it doesn’t. If I “click” with an
can’t get enough.” This happened with Caravaggio, whose work he
discovered in the
Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome.
“Next to the door is the painting ‘The Calling
of St. Matthew.’ Jesus looks pretty young and very, very Italian. I
drama in this painting!” And suddenly his practiced distance is gone.
Firth grows animated, describing who sits where in this painting and
light falls onto it. His eyes shine and we are somewhere inside this
sitting at the same table with the men and “Jesus
points to one of them, most interpreters say it’s
there’s one really young guy sitting to the right of Matthew, who has
his head. You can feel how this guy thinks: don’t take me! And I think
means him. That is far more interesting.”
Colin Firth has
thawed, suddenly and absolutely
surprisingly. He’s another person. Suddenly he’s enjoying the
now it’s definitely time for melting knees. This man is amazing! If I
into a complete idiot and start doing all sorts of things, tormenting
what I learned in art history class, this would be the perfect moment.
Concentrate. Quick. A movie question about
costume dramas. He has done quite a lot of them: Valmont, The English
Patient, Shakespeare in Love or The Importance of Being Earnest.
newest one: Girl With A Pearl
Earring. Are they his preference or is this just
what he gets offered?
“What does it mean, costume film? he asks back.
“You always wear costumes in every movie. Movies set in the present are
artificial as movies set in the past. I find it more peculiar to wear
strange shoes and modern strange jeans than a shirt from the 17th
century. A costume is a costume.”
In his last movie seen in German cinemas, he
didn’t wear clothes from the 17th century. It was the
surprise hit Love Actually by
Richard Curtis, which was set around Christmas, and Colin Firth and the
Portuguese actress Lúcia Moniz have probably the loveliest
dialogue in all of last
year’s movies. He doesn’t understand Portuguese; she doesn’t speak
drives her home after work, then looks at her and says in English,
home is my favourite part of the day.” She doesn’t understand a word,
him, and replies in Portuguese: “Leaving you is the saddest moment of
Actually Colin Firth plays a writer.
In real life he wrote a short story, “Speaking With the Angel,” for an
published by Nick Hornby in 2000 to benefit a charity. Does he like
“Definitely!” Does he write? “Yes (hesitating). As a hobby. I’m not
enough.” One can sense he doesn’t like talking about this, but he does
anyway: “It’s always easy doing something different. I therefore just
He talks theoretically about writing and then
admits that he already written “several short stories. But these are
me. I put them in a drawer and there they stay. Sometimes I show them
friends who do similar things.”
Aha, will we eventually have the pleasure of
reading more of his stories? “I don’t know. Honestly.”
His story for Nick Hornby’s book was done as a
favour for a friend. They’ve known each other since Colin Firth played
character in the film based on Hornby’s book Fever Pitch. “We are not best
friends,” he says nonchalantly, “but we have many things in common.
from English suburbs, have travelled a lot, and like many of the same
Returning to Bridget Jones, Colin’s part in Fever Pitch is the reason for her
interviewing him. He remembers, “First
friends told me that I was in the ‘Bridget Jones’ [columns]. I then
and later met Helen Fielding. Of course I’m proud of being seen as a
It was highly ironic to have the book’s Firth
playing Bridget’s love interest Mark Darcy in the movie adaptation of
The sequel will be filmed this winter. Colin
Firth’s in it again, creating lots of problems, like: How are they
going to film the
interview mentioned earlier? Colin can’t play both, as he already plays
part of Darcy. Three years ago Colin joked that they will have to ask
Crowe to play me.” Now there are rumours that George Clooney might play
Colin Firth sees the funny side of this
problem. “Clooney might have been an option, but he isn’t doing it. I
they might drop it altogether.”
What he can
promise is that the idiotic
reindeer sweater he wore when he first met Bridget will be back. “They
let me keep it,” he says ruefully, “but there was a second one, which
slightly less obnoxious, that is mine now.” “Funny,” he thinks, “that I
remembered because of this sweater. It is humbling.”
He sounds both amused by this thought and a
little astonished. He sounded like this quite often during the
especially whenever we were talking about him. One had the feeling he’d
say, ‘I just do my job. What exactly do you want from me?’ He won’t die
self-importance. That’s for sure.
I haven’t got anything to add to this.
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