The Late Late Show (with Craig Kilborn)
December 10, 2003

Craig Kilborn: First guest is an international movie star, whose films include Bridget Jones's Diary, Shakespeare in Love and Love Actually. He stars in Girl With a Pearl Earring, which opens Friday in select cities. [film clip] This is Colin Firth!

Colin Firth: Thank you.

Craig: They love you. Let's first point out, just so there's no competition, you're taller than I am. Okay, that's what it is. You're taller than I am.

Colin: You don't have to say that. Okay, we had issues in the dressing room a little earlier.

Craig: I had no issues.

Colin: No, I have a few issues, but I—

Craig: Very kind, sir. You're taller. Congratulations.

Colin: Thank you very much.

Craig: That’s why I was ducking over there.

Colin: I've always felt tall, but nobody warned me about this situation.

Craig: What are you? 6’2”? 6’3”?

Colin: [craning] This is quite high, this chair. It's quite high, isn't it?

Craig: I’ll slouch. How’s that?

Colin: ‘cause, I think, if you're already tall, that's a sign of a lot of insecurity.

Craig: Yes, it is. Nice to meet you. I'm a fan of your work. Now, the women love you, don't they? [huge screams]

Craig: Actually, I was asking him that. They do, don't they?

Colin: Well, have you got a guy there making them . . .?

Craig: No, it's the looks, but it's also the parts you play, right?

Colin: Yeah, the parts. I don't know what it is, actually. I've been trying to convince my wife about this and she won't really—

Craig: —uh oh, you just broke a lot of hearts by saying “your wife,” by the way, but that's okay.

Colin: Well, she won't talk about it, and she's never watching when one of these moments comes up, when people make a lot of noise, and someone says, “women love you.”

Craig: You mean, she doesn't watch my show or she's not with you when you go out and the screaming fans are there?

Colin: Well, she tries to watch it with the screaming baby at five o'clock in the morning . . . 

Craig: Oh, I see.

Colin: . . . over on the other side of the planet, basically, when she can.

Craig: Now, how long have you been married?

Colin: I have been married . . . Oh God, you caught me on this one.

Craig: I'm sorry. These are tough—

Colin: [blurts out] Six years.

Craig: Six years. And she's Italian?

Colin: Yes.

Craig: And was she familiar with your work prior to meeting you?

Colin: No.

Craig: No, she was not?

Colin: No, nobody was.

Craig: You weren't making a lot of movies six years ago?

Colin: No, nothing. I was making a lot of movies. It's just that nobody went to see any of them.

Craig: Did she know you were kind of a sex symbol prior to meeting you?

Colin: No, and she still doesn't.

Craig: She still doesn't?

Colin: I did my best to convince her that I was very famous and considered a sex symbol at the time we met, and she was very skeptical about it, naturally. Unfortunately, a lot of other English people working on the movie with us who succeeded in convincing her that nobody had ever heard of me.

Craig: Ah, that's classic.

Colin: Yeah, it was quite unpleasant for me.

Craig: Right. Now where do you guys live?

Colin: We live mostly in England. We live part of the time in Italy.

Craig: And is there any problem with the language barrier or not?

Colin: Between us, we have some. I think, sometimes the better you think you know the language, the worse problems you're going to get. I mean, it's... Ordering in a restaurant, the Italians have very subtle things like you have to pronounce the consonants. Double consonants.

Craig: Uh huh.

Colin: It's not spaghetti. It’s spaghet-ti. It's two Ts.

Craig: Ah.

Colin: It's not penne pasta. It's pen-ne. And, if you order penne pasta, penne arrabbiatta, you're actually ordering an angry penis.

Craig: No, no! Here’s the thing . . . 

Colin: You have to be very careful what you order in Italy because the Italians can be very accommodating. You don't want your Tuscan holiday ruined by an angry penis, or I can only speak for myself.

Craig: Yeah, you know, I've never had, I’ve never experienced . . . Mine's never been angry; mine's always happy.

Colin: I'm sorry.

Craig: Here's what always bothers me that, each time there's a language barrier or they say the wrong word, what are the chances that it's a dirty word? It's always a dirty word, although maybe you just came up with, let me use angry penis as far as ordering the pasta.

Colin: No, every mistake you make is a dirty word.

Craig: So you speak some Italian and she speaks very good English, right?

Colin: She does.

Craig: I guess in the movie Love Actually, you're with another British heartthrob, in Hugh Grant.

Colin: Oh yeah, I know the guy. [lots of screaming and laughs]

Craig: So what's it like when you two are together? It must be magic.

Colin: It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. It's a really fuzzy, warm sort of thing we have together.

Craig: So, if you guys walk in the same room together, the women, how do they make a choice?

Colin: We're very rarely in the same room together. I tell you, we've been in the same airport together, and we've been in the same hotel lobby together, and they do make a choice. This is three years ago, so I'm hoping they've updated their opinions since then.

Craig: What did they do?

Colin: Well, arriving at LAX with Hugh, every obstacle melted away in front of us, basically. Every electronic door. Every immigration officer. Every, you know, because Hugh is there.

Craig: Yeah.

Colin: Limo drives up, and he let's me share his limo.

Craig: Yeah.

Colin: And we arrive at the hotel and special services and VIP people come rushing up past me.

Craig: Ouch!

Colin: My hand sort of gets brushed aside. Hugh, actually, being quite a gentleman, tries to introduce me to the special services people. They just don't want to know.

Craig: They don't want to know? That hurts.

Colin: I just realized, at this moment, that I could have been lying bleeding on the carpet and they'd have walked over me to get to him. We made it into the elevator eventually. I thought the nightmare was over. With our bags on that trolley thing, we went past my floor and I said, “I'm on the ninth floor,” and the guy said, “I don't have your bags, sir. . .”

Craig: Ow!

Colin: “You have to go back down and get them.”

Craig: That is terrible! No, that's disrespectful. If I were you, I would feel like, an angry penis! That really happened for you, right?

Colin: [doing his low chuckle] That happened. Yeah, yeah.

Craig: Alright, we're going to come back and talk about Girl With a Pearl Earring and also Five Questions with Colin Firth.


Craig: [holding up picture of Colin from movie] Colin Firth, Girl With a Pearl Earring. It’s about the somewhat famous painter, artist, right? Is that your hair or is that a wig?

Colin: No, that was thrust upon me. That is not home grown.

Craig: Yeah, and was there some concern about that?

Colin: Oh, yes, there was. When I read the script, I thought there was no downside to this. Oh, wait a minute: wig. Alert. It was quite a chilling moment, really, because I thought great role, but everything ruined by wig purgatory.

Craig: Exactly. People would not take you seriously if the wig doesn’t look good.

Colin: No, and that's the struggle without the wig at times.

Craig: Oh stop!

Colin: And, so, I went through all these Dutch painting catalogs, and I'm thinking there's got to be a guy with short hair in there somewhere. They all looked liked they played def [heavy?] metal.

Craig: [can’t figure out what he says here]

Colin: One thing I've learned, I have to say, that a man of my age is forgiven, particularly if he had hair like that. Let's say, if there were a guy like that, he would be forgiven for walking out of his trailer, makeup trailer, and straight to the nearest men's room, in front of a mirror, and just play air guitar for awhile.

Craig: Yes.

Colin: I could just imagine someone doing that.

Craig: Right. That’s the way it looks. This is a good-looking wig as far as—

Colin: It's fine.

Craig: Doesn't bother me.

Colin: I’m very glad. Thank you.

Craig: We're going to play Five in a second. I've always wanted to hear... Can you do an American accent?

Colin: You know, that's a terrible question to ask of an actor.

Craig: Thank you. I'm good with those.

Colin: I would love to say, “yes,” but if you make me do it now, I would never get hired again.

Craig: Okay, so we need to save it for next time?

Colin: Mine just needs a little bit more work, perhaps.

Craig: ‘Cause you haven't had to do it then, you’re saying?

Colin: No, I've done it a couple times, but with work. I come from a generation—my drama school was of the De Niro-worship generation. It was in the wake of Raging Bull and Taxi Driver and so all these Brits were walking around, endlessly saying [imitating DeNiro], “You talkin' to me?”

Craig: There it is. That's all I needed to hear.

Colin: [continuing with his DeNiro] How you doin'? You [bleep] my wife? [Craig is reacting wildly to this and laughing] I was told I could say that.

Craig: Oh sure, go ahead.

Colin: What they do then is . . . 

Craig: No, take your time.

Colin: I'm sorry. Five Questions—

Craig: No, go ahead.

Colin: I just want to . . . I was just looking at . . . I know you've got more . . . [pointing to Five Questions cards] ‘cause they scare me.

Craig: No, I want to hear more.

Colin: They were researching roles and every role they played, they would have to put on weight and box. They'll be doing Othello or The Importance of Being Earnest, and they'd all be [doing boxing moves and in DeNiro mode], “You [bleep] my wife? You [bleep] my wife?”

Craig: That's funny!

Colin: Do you want to go ahead with the five questions?

Craig: Do you want to swear some more?

Colin: Go ahead.

Craig: Time for Five Questions. I will say the first one is very tough. In your new movie, you play a painter. Purple is the combination of what two colors?

Colin: Red and blue.

Craig: That is correct, ladies and gentlemen. [Colin wipes his brow] That's a tough one, isn't it?

Colin: You can say that. That's very stressful.

Craig: You'll be fine. Which is better: British food or British porn?

Colin: That's actually pretty easy.

Craig: I think so, too.

Colin: I mean, we've had only a few years to develop the food thing, you know.

Craig: Yeah.

Colin: We're highly sophisticated in the other area.

Craig: Yes, looking for “porn.” Is correct. Alright, do not say it out loud. I want you to think of an American car company. American car company. Tell me when you have it. Don't say it out loud.

Colin: [concentrating with eyes closed] Alright.

Craig: Okay, now, I want you to think of another one. Okay, the second one. Do you have it?

Colin: Yes.

Craig: What is it?

Colin: Chevy or Chevrolet.

Craig: Yes, we'll accept Chevy or Cadillac. Chevy, ladies and gentlemen. Ford was first?

Colin: Sorry?

Craig: Ford was first?

Colin: No, I kept thinking Hummer, Humvee, but then . . .

Craig: We can't accept. No, that's fine. We're going to have K.C. and the Sunshine Band in a few weeks. Which one of the following is not the actual title of a K.C. and the Sunshine Band song: “Shake Your Booty,” “I'm Your Boogie Man,” “Boogie Shoes,” or “Boogie Till Your Booty Drop”? Which one is not a real title?

Colin: “Shake Your Booty”?

Craig: [buzzer sounding] Incorrect!

Colin: Oh.

Craig: It's “Boogie Till Your Booty Drop.”

Colin: Okay.

Craig: No, you're doing very well. This is for a very good score. On the spot, make up a British-sounding word for "undergarments"? British sounding. Can't be a real one.

Colin: I've got to make it up?

Craig: You've got to make it up, somehow.

Colin: Can't be bloomers or . . . ?

Craig: No, it can't be bloomers and you can't swear either. [lots of laughs] You've used up your—

Colin: my quota. Umm [spits it out quickly] "jolly hose!"

Craig: [laughing and impressed] Jolly hose. Very good, very good. Select cities. Friday. It’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. It's got Colin Firth and also Scarlett Johansson. A pleasure. Really nice meeting you. You're very good. Colin Firth. We'll be right back.

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