(with Ellen DeGeneres)
January 23, 2006
transcribed by LindaK
Ellen: Our first guest has starred in such hits as Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually. His new movie, Nanny McPhee, opens Friday. Take a look. [shows clip] Please welcome the very charming, Colin Firth.
[great audience response]
Ellen: Thank you for being here, Colin.
Colin: Thank you.
Ellen: Now a lot people—I don’t know if you know this—but a lot of people really hate doing shows like this. Because it’s the part of the job-I mean the acting, the creative part is always the fun part, but going out, and… You’re not used to being in front of an audience all the time. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with that. And I know you don’t like doing shows like this so, thank you.
Colin: Well thank you. No this is already a pleasure. You’ve converted me. (both laugh) Did you say both your guests would be sitting, here? (indicating the sole guest chair)
Ellen: All of you sit...
Colin: Usually there is a sofa.
Ellen: No, then Jenna sits on top of you. That’s the way we do it, here. Everyone stacks on top of one another. (Colin does one of his low, sexy chuckles) No, you’ll leave so you don’t have to be out here. (laughter)
Colin: Okay (more sexy chuckles)
Ellen: We’ve got a timer going. You’re almost done.
Colin: Yeah (laughs) and I’m doing well, right?
Ellen: Yeah, you’re doing great. I want you to tell the story, because I heard the story, recently, and I had the same sort of situation happen to me, this window incident.
Colin: The window incident.
Ellen: I’ll call it that. What do you call it?
Colin: Yes, I don’t. I try not to talk about it, actually. (Ed note: liar liar pants on fire.) But it’s out there, now. Okay if you want to hear it. To start with, to just set the scene, I’m not a neighborly sort of person. I don’t "do" neighbors. (Ed note: interesting look from Ellen, who would probably like to jump on that) I don’t dislike people, generally. But you know how when you start off on a long flight you don’t make conversation at the beginning?
Colin: Because you don’t know who you’re going to be stuck with. So maybe you’ll start off a conversation 20 minutes before you land because the stakes are lower. (Ellen smiles at this) So if I’m about to move house, I’m prepared to meet my neighbors, but not when I first move in. So, I’d been living in my house for about a week. It was a Sunday morning, I was alone, and my family were away. I wasn’t dressed for company. Well, I was wearing the sort of underpants that were strictly for domestic consumption. (Ellen liked this one too!) You know—any unauthorized view of these underpants may lead to prosecution. And also a pair of slippers that I would never want anyone to know I owned, but yes, they feature in this story. Yes, they were like honey bear slippers, or something someone had slipped into a Christmas stocking, with little eyes and fluffy nose. And that’s what I was wearing. And I walked into my living room, and I needed to open the sash window to the back garden, and it was jammed and actually, locked. So I went to get a key. The only way to get up so I could unlock it was to perch myself on the radiator which was under the window. It was a very sharp-edged radiator so I needed the slippers. I climbed up and poised myself in that position-unlocked the sash. I didn’t realize the sash cord was broken which meant the upper sash came slamming down taking three of my fingers with it into a kind of credit card-sized crack. I was, therefore, suddenly at the mercy of, well, my neighbors, really. There was nobody home. I had a friend due to come round at two that afternoon. I couldn’t really wait. How long is that? About five hours, whatever?
Ellen: So your fingers are stuck?
Colin: My fingers were stuck. So my only option, it seemed, was to use the word, help. (lots of laughter) I got the word help out and it was ineffectual. I then said things like, “Is anybody by any chance, there? I’ve got a bit...uh, of a problem” then nothing.
Ellen: Well, how close were your neighbors? I mean is it like, uh?
Colin: No, they were close enough to hear the blood curling scream which I eventually let escape, but not close enough to hear the kind of polite version that I wanted, I hoped, would suffice.
Colin: They were a few yards away. I moved into this area to escape all contact, really, with... Eventually my next door neighbor, who is more reserved than I am, vaulted the fence and made it into my house and was unable to do anything for me and informed me of the fact. And it was nice to meet him because he turned out to be quite a nice guy. He’s a lawyer, a civil lawyer, his wife, too, is a lawyer, and she actually quite likes my work.
Ellen: Uh huh, great.
Colin: In the meantime, I thought I could see some blood beginning to...
Ellen: I mean you must have been in pain.
Colin: I was in intense pain.
Ellen: And how did he get in your house was your door locked?
Colin: We don’t talk about that, either.
Ellen: But you just said...
Colin: He got in through the back door somehow. I must have already opened it that morning. And the doorbell rang, and I just thought this guy can’t help me, maybe it’s the fire brigade? Or maybe someone’s heard my cries. Well, it wasn’t the brigade. It was, in fact, my entire neighborhood. (audience howls)
Colin: And they all sat/stood their discussing my problem.
Ellen: No one was pushing the thing trying to...
Colin: No, there was some attempt to move it but no one could do that. They were discussing my window and my underpants. (laughter) There were various suggestions, you know, “if you’re ever free you can always bring your kids round.” Eventually a guy came in—he found a metal object. It was a fire poker and he jammed it in between the windowpanes and liberated me. I swear to you I would rather chew my own fingers off rather than have my neighbors in my living room at that moment. But that guy did that in a way that looked like he’d done that before, you know. (laughter) I thanked everybody and immediately made plans to move house. (much more laughter)
Ellen: Wow, that’s amazing. Well, it’s a good lesson: no matter how much you think you’re alone, don’t wear an outfit like that because you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Colin: (sexy chuckle) Dress for the public.
Ellen: Always dress for the public. You never know. Alright we have to take a break.
[Just before the break Ellen looks like she is beginning to show Colin her hand]
Ellen: Back with Colin Firth who has a new movie out, Nanny McPhee. Nanny McPhee is a hit in England. How long has it been out in England?
Colin: It came out in October sometime, I think.
Ellen: It’s doing really, really well.
Colin: It went through the roof. We were really surprised. Yeah, I was one of those... Optimism has never been my strong suit. I thought it was strictly for five- to eight-year-olds. In fact, everyone’s going over and over again.
Ellen: It’s adorable. It’s coming out when? When is it coming out here?
Colin: (turns to the audience for help) Uh, Friday, next Friday.
Ellen: So there’s kids? How many? Seven kids in the movie?
Colin: Yes, you see seven but actually eight because the baby was twins. Pretty overwhelming.
Ellen: What was that like?
Colin: Children and animals? Well, working with children, well, you know, we have that weird programming from nature. Even monstrous children we find adorable for some reason, and it confuses you, and you implode. Working with children is like working with actors, you know: demanding, messy, and unhygienic. Uh, that’s a bit unfair on children. (laughter) So it’s quite a shock to go home and have real children, and the role is reversed. You can’t turn to them and say, you behave or I’m going to call my agent.
Ellen: How many kids do you have?
Colin: I have three.
Ellen: And how old are they?
Colin: I have a fifteen year old, a four year old and a two year old.
Ellen: That’s great. Well, I just adore you and I’m happy that we met, and I’m a big fan, and I want to help you out. Next time you’re in a situation it sounds like you need some new underwear so...
[Pulls black “Ellen” boxers out of gift bag and Colin looks genuinely amused while the audience applauds, cheers and whistles loudly!]
Colin: Thank you, thank you so much. My neighbors will be delighted.
Ellen: Yeah, really nice meeting you. You’re very, very funny.
Colin: Thanks so much.
Ellen: Nanny McPhee opens in theatres this Friday.
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