Vanity Fair, March 2004, Hollywood Portfolio

The Wanted Man

Colin Firth, actor, mum's heartthrob, fair-trade activist.

Thirty films, including seven in the last two
years alone.

In his high, stiff collar and tight breeches, Colin Firth was smolderingly glandular as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that one could only assume he was another English pretty boy, destined for lesser Merchant Ivory films and B-picture period romances made with Italian financing. But from The English Patient onward, he has demonstrated a willingness to play cuckolds, schlimazels and conflicted guys—especially recently, in movies as disparate as Love Actually, What a Girl Wants (as Amanda Bynes's dad!), and the Bridget Jones pictures—that has broadened the public perception of him and somehow served to make him still more appealing to his female admirers. (And he did get to smolder, for old times' sake as Vermeer in Girl with a Pearl Earring.) He modestly ascribes his success to his "neutrality," but "versatility" might be a better word.

Photo by Julian Broad

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