Live with Regis and Kelly

May 27, 2002


Regis: He’s well-known for his role as Renée Zellweger’s sexy love interest in Bridget Jones’s Diary. [addressing Kelly] Remember that movie?

Kelly: I sure do.

Regis: A very popular film. And now he stars in The Importance of Being Earnest. Here is Colin Firth. Hello, Colin, nice to have you here.

Kelly: You know, last time you were here, Regis was not here.

Colin: That’s right.

Regis: This is the first time we’re meeting.

Colin: This is it. What a pleasure it is too.

Regis: Colin is one of those British guys that are wowing women all over the world.

Kelly: Right.

Regis: I mean, like you, Hugh Grant. . .

Kelly: Well, as a matter of fact, the last time Hugh was here, he referred to Colin as sexy Colin Firth.

Regis: Yes, Hugh Grant calling you sexy Colin Firth.

Colin: It’s a bit alarming, actually, if that’s how way he feels about me, he hides it very well when we’re together.

Kelly: I think he’s one of those people that ignores you because he has a crush on you.

Colin: Is that what it is. They say about Englishmen they play hard to get even when no one wants to get them.

Regis: I’m looking for this but, oh, here it is right here. Yes, Colin, now is this your home in England [May Vogue picture], up in the tree there?

Colin: Yes, that’s my garden shed just in the background.

Regis: Your garden shed. See, I love these British guys.

Colin: It’s in the corner of my garden.

Kelly: They refer to you as Britain’s sex god screen idol. Is that a heavy title for you to pull off?

Colin: No, I’ve always felt that way about myself.

Regis: Now here’s a picture I like. The British guys got a little touch, a little different from everybody else. So there they are. [May Town & Country photo] It all began with Cary Grant years ago. And then there’s Colin and Hugh and who’s the guy on the. . . Oh Prince William. Yes.

Colin: Just some other guy there, yeah.

Regis: Prince William, yes. He’s a little distinguished. . . 

Colin: Not bad company. Is it?

Regis: Absolutely.

Kelly: Now you had a new baby last time you were here.

Colin: That’s right, yes.

Kelly: Luca?

Colin: Luca

Kelly: How old is Luca?

Colin: A little less than you. He’s thirteen months now.

Kelly: Ah, terrific, just turned a year. Is he walking?

Colin: Absolutely, no, he’s not walking. He’s terribly lazy and you know actually he gets a rather sort of irritable statement on his face when you get him on his feet.

Regis: Tell me about that name Luca. It’s, that’s not after Luca Brazzi, is it?

Colin: No, it’s an Italian name. My wife’s Italian so we have an excuse to give him a name that would otherwise probably be a little pretentious.

Regis: Ah. So you married an Italian lady?

Colin: That’s right.

Regis: Isn’t that something. See? [to Kelly]

Colin: Yeah. It means you’re actually surrounded by a very intense extended family who, you know, if you want to hold your own baby, you have to get in line behind the cousins, the brothers. the . . .

Regis: All the Italians have a lot of relatives and they’re all very loving and giving and all of that. . .

Kelly: But you’re probably eating very well. Are you eating very well?

Colin: I’m eating superbly well. It’s one of life’s great challenges is to get through three months in Italy and then still be ready to do a film at the other end of it, you know.

Kelly: I’m very excited because my mother-in-law is coming tonight. And whenever. . .she comes for two days and she cooks about 18 months’ worth of food. That’s wonderful. In two days, I mean she freezes it and labels it.

Colin: We get exactly the same thing. But you’re a mother, aren’t you?

Kelly: Yes, I am. But I’m a horrible cook.

Colin: Oh are you?

Kelly: So there goes that.

Regis: But your parents were scholars.

Colin: They were, yes, and are still.

Regis: And when you say scholars, do they teach?

Colin: They do. Yeah, they will not give up. It’s. . . they travel the world doing it and...

Regis: Were they strict with terms of education?

Colin: No, it wasn’t so much strictness, but they were very very intent that I grew up, you know, curious, and travel was very important. And we were surrounded by books and it was more trying to inspire, really.

Regis: How do they feel about your present occupation?

Colin: They were extremely alarmed by it when it was first announced.

Regis: They were hysterical.

Colin: Yes, it was, well...

Regis: They were scholars but they were crazed.

Kelly: I think that any parents of actors become alarmed and horrified.

Regis: Sure, because it’s such a tough business.

Colin: And I would be the same, and it was repressed panic and they tried to be rational about it and supportive and understanding, but it was something they had no concept of and I might as well have been saying I’d jumped off the edge of the earth and...

Regis: Sure, sure. It’s all new to them.

Colin: Absolutely.

Regis: Did they see you in Bridget Jones’s Diary?

Colin: Yes, they did. They see everything. I mean my father keeps a scrapbook now.

Regis: Oh, no kidding?

Colin: Oh yes.

Regis: A scholarly scrapbook.

Colin: Absolutely, yes, annotated with academic remarks.

Kelly: Is there ever a time when you turn to your parents and say, ‘See, mom and dad, imagine if I’d followed your path, who knows? But now you get to see me constantly.’ I mean even when you’re away from them they still can see you.

Colin: Well, this is true and, also, I mean, most people in my family followed an academic path and I’ve always slightly felt  there was something wrong with me because I didn’t and, you know, I said to my father a few years ago maybe I should just go to college now, you know, scratch the itch, and he pointed out that my profession, if you are lucky enough to be working in it, affords so much education. I mean you do travel. You do have a wonderful excuse to plunge in and do homework on subjects, whether it’s literature or something that isn’t your own, so it, I think, provides a very good substitute.

Regis: And one of those things you probably taught yourself  about was Oscar Wilde’s work.

Colin: Well, yes, and in fact one almost doesn’t have to do much homework if you came from a family like that in England because he was sort of in the air. I don’t remember a time when I first heard his name. It was, these names, Wilde and Coward, were so strange to me as a child. I thought they must be important people.

Regis: Real pioneers, too.

Colin: Absolutely.

Regis: The Importance of Being Earnest was one of Oscar Wilde’s best works, wasn’t it?

Colin: That’s right, and I think his best.

Regis: And you play the fellow with the two identities.

Colin: Well, yes, I mean, there are two of us with two identities, really. It’s a very hard film to pitch. You try to tell a story here. There’s one guy pretending to be someone else and his friend’s pretending to be someone else and they both want to be called Ernest. And uh people’s eyes glaze over when you, you’re pitching that one.

Regis: You mean like hers right now?

Kelly: Yeah, but that just happens no matter.

Colin: Just every five minutes.

Kelly: Every five minutes.

Colin: No, you’ve just got to take it on trust that it’s very funny and it’s odd that after a hundred years it is still making people laugh. And on the press junket, I think one of the things that recurred most was the comment I didn’t think I was going to like this. I don’t like costume films, you know.

Regis: Let’s take a look now. Here’s Colin and his romantic interest in the film, Gwendolen, played by Frances O’Connor. The Importance of Being Earnest. [Clip of Jack suggesting the name Jack is equally good]

Regis: She thinks you’re Ernest. It is important to be Ernest in this movie. Colin, it’s awfully nice meeting you.

Colin: Nice to meet you, yes.

Regis: Thank you so much for coming by. Good luck to you.

Kelly: Nice to see you again.

Regis: The Importance of Being Earnest. In the movies right now.

[Ed note: The transcription attempted to deal with overlapping comments, mumbled and/or incomplete answers, and ums]

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