To... (Midland Mainline), Winter 2004

"My life revolves around my family"

Grab your smelling salts, ladies. Colin Firth
is back on our screens. The Bridget Jones sequel is released in November, but if you
can't wait that long look out for his performance in Trauma


Think of Colin Firth and you automatically conjure up an image of tight breeches and a dripping wet shirt. You just can’t help it, it’s all down to that lakeside scene in Pride and Prejudice.

Ever since his unforgettably dashing portrayal of Mr Darcy in the TV adaptation of the Jane Austen classic, Colin has become synonymous with brooding, romantic hero.

But, according to the star, his real self couldn’t be more different. Colin admits he’s dark, but not in the brooding sense.

“I’m fascinated by dark dreams, by the gloomy side of life,” he says with an uneasy smile. “When it comes to music or literature I’m definitely drawn to the dark stuff.”

In fact the star stays he’d much rather ditch the romantic leads for a bit of horror, and feels his recent film, a Hitchcock thriller called Trauma, is closer to the real Colin Firth than any of his previous roles.

In Trauma, he plays a man who enters a nightmare world after waking from a coma to discover his wife Elisa (Naomie Harris) has been killed in a car crash.

“It sounds a bit cheesy, but making Trauma did feel like a homecoming to me,” he reveals. “I’ve really enjoyed stuff that’s happened over the last few years but it was hard to find anyone who would put me in anything like Trauma and I had a real hankering for that sort of material. When I was on the set I thought I could really spend my life doing this sort of stuff. And when I saw it too I felt I just wanted to do films like this.”

Yet, somehow you get the feeling this might not happen. After all, this is the man who single handedly made Jane Austen sexy and defined romance in hit films such as Love Actually, Girl With a Pearl Earring and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Those roles have helped him not only to become one of Britain’s most successful leading men, but also one of its sexiest.

It’s not an image that sits comfortably with the Hampshire born star, who’s just turned 44.

“It’s utterly bizarre to hear people discussing me in sexual terms. It’s not something I’m used to,” he says looking horribly embarrassed. “I’m just glad I didn’t achieve my so-called status until I was 35. The truth is before I met my wife I only had two girlfriends. When I met her parents, who live in Italy, I jokingly mentioned that I was something of a sex god in England and they burst out laughing,” he says, laughing himself.

Sex symbol or not, Colin clearly only has eyes for one woman, his stunning wife, Italian documentary maker, Livia Giuggioli.

The pair met on the set of the 1995 movie Nostromo and married two years later. The couple have two sons, Matteo, born last year and three-year-old Luca. Colin also has another 13-year-old son Will, who lives in America with his mother, actress Meg Tilly.

“My life revolves around my family,” he says. “But, obviously you do wonder if you’re giving them enough time.”

It’s a particular worry for the hard-working star, who says he comes “completely absorbed” in his roles.

Colin’s next film is the eagerly awaited Bridget Jones sequel, The Edge of Reason. Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin are all reprising their roles and Colin reveals that fans are in for a treat.

“The script is very, very funny,” he smiles. “It’s strange, but I don’t actually remember even signing up for a sequel, but somehow I seemed to have ended up in it. I think myself and Hugh would have been the bad guys if we hadn’t have agreed to do it, but though a sequel is fraught with danger and most of us were sceptical about doing another Bridget Jones, any fears we did have were allayed the minute Renée opened her mouth,” he laughs. “I thought ‘She’s great. This is going to be fun,’ and it is.”

And whether he likes it or not, the next Bridget Jones instalment won’t do anything to dent that sexy image he’s desperately trying to shake off. But he should count himself lucky. If the Pride and Prejudice programme makers had had their way, we would have seen a whole lot more of Mr Darcy.

“I still find it amusing that what the public doesn’t know is that the original screenplay for Pride and Prejudice called for Mr Darcy to jump into the pool nude,” he reveals with a chuckle. “But of course, we couldn’t do that because it was for the BBC on Sunday evening.”

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