The Today Show
(with Katie Couric)
November 18, 2004, transcribed by KimC

Katie:  You’ve seen him in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually and Pride and Prejudice, films which provoked fans to name Colin Firth “The Thinking Woman’s Sex Symbol.” [Katie looks toward Colin, tilts her head, raises her eyebrow and purses her lips, as if to convey, “what do you think of that?” before trailer scenes are run.] Now he’s back in one of his most memorable roles, Bridget’s love interest, Mark Darcy, in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Colin Firth.

Katie: (whose crossed leg is sexily poised about six inches from Colin’s) Good morning. Nice to have you here.

Colin: Good morning

Katie: Apparently this role has brought you to a new level of fame, Colin. We now have “Darcy Mania” and “The Firth Factor.” Have you heard about all this stuff?

Colin: These words have come up, ya. I get hit with a new one every so often. I haven’t heard the Firth Factor.

Katie: The Firth Factor, which is not easy to say, by the way.

Colin: No, and I don’t know what the factor is. What is the factor? No, it’s, you know, it’s …You get to a certain age when to be described as sex-anything is something to be grateful for.

Katie: I hear you, but, apparently, at the London premiere, people were going bananas over you, more so than any other actor who was present. Is this true?

Colin: A very loyal friend must have told you that. [clip from Leicester Square of Colin and Livia posing and him greeting fans] I heard a lot of noise for a lot of people. But it was…The English aren’t prone to making a lot of noise (Katie: Right) and this seems to bring it out in them, this whole thing.

Katie: It’s nice because, you know, some movies that are made about Great Britain are kind of pooh-poohed in your homeland, and yet, Bridget Jones has really been embraced in a way. For example, I know Love Actually was kind of trashed by people who live in England, which was very upsetting to me, ‘cause I absolutely loved that movie (said v. sincerely), and I loved your story the best.

Colin: (sweet, shy smile) Did you? (full grin now)

Katie: I did. I love that story. I’m such a…sap! (giggling) But…

Colin: I loved (cough and moving a bit uncomfortably), I loved that story, too and uh…We do tend to tear into our own a little bit, you know, whether it’s our soccer team or our sports heroes or our musical heroes. We, we, you know, we don’t…We’re not easily spared for being successful. It’s a bit of a crime actually.

Katie: But, why do you think Bridget Jones has been more embraced than some other products. I know, for example, Renee. There’s been high praise for her, and everyone says nice things about her acting and her accent and…

Colin: I think every generation takes on some sort of representative, you know. And, I think she speaks to a lot of people. It’s hard to catch that in a bottle, you know. How do you know what’s going to work? We’d all be making hit movies if we could, but somehow she’s tapped into an urban 30-something…

Katie: sensibility

Colin: I think she has, yeah. And it’s spread well beyond the shores of England as we’ve seen.

Katie: That’s true. I think a lot of people in this country can completely relate to her. In The Edge Of Reason, I know your character, Mark Darcy (her voice noticeably changes when she says the name) changes from an aloof, unknown Bridget love interest to total sex god and human rights lawyer, Mark Darcy. Let’s take a look.

[clip of Mark Darcy telling Bridget “I love you” on the intercom]

Mark Darcy is soooo cute! I mean because he is sort of a bit awkward and shy, and how much of Colin Firth is in Mark Darcy? Oh, do you hate that question? (she laughs)

Colin: No, it’s just...No. It’s just a difficult one. I think the easiest way to dodge it, in a way, is to say, “How likely is Mark Darcy to be an actor? Would he choose that as a profession? A man who...”

Katie: (sincerely defending her hero) No, because he’s a human rights lawyer.

Colin: Yeah, well, he cares about other people! (both laughing) You know, our profession is not known for that. He also is a person who is horrified at any kind of emotional demonstration, you know. He’s repressed. Actors like to make a show of themselves, you know, and think about themselves, and all that sort of thing. So, in some ways, he is the polar opposite of me professionally speaking. We must overlap somewhere, because, they keep asking me to do it, you know. They keep wanting me to wheel him out again and again.

Katie: And there’s something so appealing about his character because, I think, for example, I know there’s a scene when Bridget is talking about her wobbly bits and not showing him her body, which so many women can relate to. I mean, who really want to do that unless you’re, like, Giselle or somebody, right? And he says I like you just the way you are. In fact, we have a sign, out in the crowd [shot of crowd and sign] that says ‘We Like You Just as You Are, Colin” which I thought was so cute because, obviously, people just swoon at his sort of acceptance and loving nature, which is nice.

Colin: I was astonished by the reaction to that line of dialogue, actually, because what it speaks of is a hunger that people must have to be told that.

Katie: To be loved for who they are.

Colin: I think so. You know, I thought it maybe went without saying, but I think that’s the problem. Perhaps it doesn’t go without saying, you know. Perhaps it does need to be said. And I’ve never been in the business of going into relationships to try to modify anybody, but...

Katie: Well, you can’t, really.

Colin: You can’t. It’s a dead end. And, I have never been interested in that, but I think it must just be the declaration that makes the difference.

Katie: But we can’t let you go, and we only have a few seconds left, without showing a bit of the fight scene between you and Hugh Grant which was rather pathetic, Colin. (said laughingly)

[clip of fight scene starts]

Colin: (deadpan) I’m so sorry to hear you say that.

Katie: (laughing) Come on! You have to admit. Were you thinking “Oh my god, I’m more manly than that!”

Colin: (starting to laugh) You know what? This is how, exactly how, it would be: two very angry, slightly frightened, and utterly incompetent Englishmen.

Katie: Well, Colin, Great to see you. Thanks for coming by, and thanks for talking to the crowd.

Colin: Great to be back.

Katie grabs his head and plants a double Euro-kiss on him.

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