Today Show (with Katie Couric)
November 10, 2003
transcribed by Ada
Katie Couric: British actor, Colin Firth, is perhaps best known as the dashing barrister Mark Darcy who won the heart of Bridget Jones in Bridget Jonesí Diary. Now Colin Firth is out with a new movie, again about finding love. He plays a broken-hearted writer who retreats to a villa in France, only to find himself taken with a young Portuguese housekeeper in Love Actually. [Clip of movie]
Katie: Colin Firth. Good morning, Colin.
Colin Firth: Good morning.
Katie: Nice to see you again.
Colin: Nice to be back.
Katie: So youíve seen this movie. Whatís the verdict?
Colin: Well, I think itís remarkable, actually. It sails very, very, very close to just, uh, something which you, may make you feel slightly queasy if youíre not with it, you know. [He smiles and Katie laughs] Itís obviously extremely, uh, sweet and very, very emotional. And I donít like that kind of movie [slight smile] so there was a point, you know, in about the first 20 minutes, where I, uh, wasnít sure I wanted to...detach myself from it, but I was completely swept up with it.
Katie: You were? When you first heard about the role, did you say, ďUh, Iím not sureĒ or were you completely gung-ho early on?
Colin: It was taking a big risk. Thereís no question about it. It...this, this sort of thing, if it fails, fails miserably. Itís quite a high wire act trying to do this kind of comedy and I think that the other, the upside of it is very hard to bet against. Somebody like Richard Curtis, whoís had a 100% strike rate as far as I can see with every movie heís ever written. And so I wanted to take the ride with him, and uh, I tend to trust him, so...
Katie: You play Jaime, the broken-hearted writer who, at the beginning of the film, finds his girlfriend basically, uh, can I say shagging on American television? [Katie giggling, and Colin answering ďIíd, uh yesĒ] with his brother...
Colin: Thatís right!
Katie: Shocked and appalled and broken hearted, he retreats to, Iím assuming the south of France.
Colin: Yes, the south of France, yes.
Katie: Where he, he tries to write, because he is a writer. He meets up, as I mentioned, with this, uh Portuguese housekeeper, who, uh, whoís, I thought very lovely in the film.
Colin: Sheís a delightful actress. She, uh, sheís known as a singer in Portugal.
Colin: In fact, sheís a very famous singer there.
Katie: I should mention, her name is Lucia Moniz? Is that right?
Colin: Thatís right, yeah.
Katie: And sheís quite well known in Portugal, which is sort of interesting because sheís new to, certainly American, and even British audiences, I am assuming.
Colin: Ah, absolutely, yeah.
Katie: And he decides that...He becomes quite enamored with her.
Colin: He does. Itís love across a language barrier and itís the comedy of misunderstandings and it also has a poignancy to it. And uh, I, uh, thatís something I know quite well cause Iím married to an Italian who Iím quite sure would not have married me if sheíd understood everything I said.
[Clip of Lake Scene starts]
Katie: Did you have to learn to speak Italian to court her properly?
Colin: I did, I did! She, her English was so good that it wasnít actually necessary for practical reasons but I thought the gesture was probably warranted. [Colin realizes clip is playing] And, uh, this we see here, I think, itís, itís, uh, itís characterized as the big romantic gesture that his character makes. This story happened to Richard Curtis, the, the director.
Katie: Oh, it did?
Colin: Up to a point, yes. He fell in love with a Portuguese cleaning lady, but he didnít learn her language, and go and propose to her, so...
Katie: So that, so it was never...
Colin: No. No, no, I think he just, uh, I think he had an unhappy ending...
Colin: ...to that story, yeah.
Katie: And you, your character in this takes a language immersion class and, or course or whatever, and you learn to speak Portuguese, which I guess you had to do for the role. You end up not doing it particularly well or getting a little, some of the terms confused, which I thought was a really cute thing in the movie, where they have your translation and youíre getting things all mucked up and I donít want to give too much away but you had to learn some Portuguese for the role, right?
Colin: I did. I had to learn inaccurate Portuguese, which was probably far more accessible to me than accurate Portuguese. Uh, itís a very, very beautiful language to, uh, enter into and actually...
Katie: But difficult, yes?
Colin: Itís...the pronunciation is, uh, almost impossible as far as Iím concerned. It sounds a little bit like Russian. Thereís a lot of things you have to do, with muscles you didnít know you had.
Katie: Meanwhile, youíre working on Bridget Jonesís Diary, the second one, right?
Colin: Thatís right.
Katie: Howís that going?
Colin: Well, it seems to be going very well. At first, when [big sigh] the idea came up to do the sequel, I felt, you know, is it wise? And then, I think most of us felt a little bit like weíre called up for military service really. Uhm, but now, that, uh, now that itís under way, I think itís, itís all showing up to be very worthwhile. I, Iíve got to give Hugh Grant a good kicking again, and...
Katie: Yeah, I understand you end up in a pond together.
Colin: We do end up in a pond. I end up in ponds in most of my work, basically.
Katie[giggling]: Thatís right!
Katie: You should have a ĎNo Pondí clause maybe in your next contract.
Colin: Iím working on it, yeah.
Katie: And, meanwhile, before we go, I just wanted to congratulate you and your wife. You have a new baby boy!
Colin: We do.
Katie: Matteo (MAT-e-o)? Is that right?
Colin: Matteo (Mah-TAY-o), yeah.
Katie: [embarrassed laugh] Matteo. Sorry. I think I need to work on my...Is that an Italian name?
Colin: It is. Itís Matthew, yeah.
Katie: Oh, well. Congratulations. Great to see you, Colin.
Colin: Thank you.
Katie: Of course your latest movie is Love Actually.
Colin: [softly] Yeah.
Katie: Nice to have you.
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