It is not for nothing that women often swoon at the mere mention of this man. When the strapping actor walks into the room he is a picture of elegance. He has height, he is bright and radiates some sort of silent welcome when you meet him. In addition to his extraordinary list of movies, well chosen and well received by audiences across the globe, his unfailing politeness, intelligence and charm are ever present.
So who are we speaking of? Why Mr Darcy of course.
On the heels of his Oscar win, Colin Firth admits that he doesn’t want to be a big star. But as we know here at the MSP HQ, if you were destined to be a big star, you are going to be a big star. So we ask, ‘Why. Why this resistance’? Well, it’s simply because he hates the way that some stars behave. As seen in his excellent choice of roles this Englishman takes great joy in portraying the under dog. The man who battles with the spirit of each characters’ fragility to finally understand ones purpose in life. Firth comments that there’s a lot of arrogance and indulgence when it comes to some major actors and he detests the way that people act around the big stars. He deflects from being treated as anyone special. And well, this could be half the reason why he has been so successful. He states very clearly that his parents and many others who have worked in humanitarian causes are the real heroes in life.
So what does this Oscar winning romance playing actor do in his spare time? Well, it is mainly spent with his wife and children ~ and although he has played several romantic roles in films, he finds it hard to affiliate with them. Firth is British, and although he is meant to connect with a nation whose reputation is witty, politically correct and is still debating about things in the last century, Firth has a love affair with exuberance of Italy. When asked if he is an old romantic, he doesn’t believe that he is optimistic enough to be incurable of the swelling romance although he does have brief spells where he sees the romantic perspective.
As seen in the characters he plays, Firth’s preoccupation is with intelligence and spirituality. He has a connection with emotion in all its manifestations, it’s complications and devastation. So how does an actor playing out these extremely emotionally exhausting roles deal with getting back to reality? As the saying goes, behind every good man is a good woman. He praises his wife for keeping him calm and centered. She keeps his feet on the ground and helps him deal with the ups and downs of the actors experience. Not afraid to shed a tear to her, his gentle companion will only give him a hug, make him a cup of tea, and call the children to make him feel good. Simple no?
Colin won the prestigious Golden Lion as Best Actor at the 2009 Venice Film Festival for his work in ‘A Single Man’, and he is no less compelling as King George VI, once again with his gallons of supreme talent soaring him into classic English characters. As a fav movie to some in the MSP office, A Single Man was a true representation of love and loss, and a visual masterpiece by Tom Ford with his directing debut. Incredible.
Colin owns his English-ness to his colonial ancestry. Two of his grandparents were missionaries and both his mother and father grew up in India. Although from the age of seven onwards he lived in the suburbs of Winchester, England, his favourite childhood memories are of his time in Nigeria, where he lived until he was four. Though he has a home in west London, he lived in Italy for several years with his Italian documentary film maker Livia Giuggioli, whom he met 12 years ago. They have two children together and Firth still spends as much time as possible in the romantic and passion country of Italy. Firth speaks fluent Italian and is an active supporter of Oxfam International, which provides relief work in Africa.
The 50-year-old Firth also prefers not to give his sex symbol image any thought. According to Colin Firth, when he was first offered the role of Darcy, his brother incredulously remarked, “Darcy? But isn’t he supposed to be sexy?”. And well, as the girls sigh years after its screening – sexy was an understatement. The on screen primal power was felt to the point of him playing a ‘Darcy’ in two other films. Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones’s Diary, as Mark Darcy. But there is definitely a sexiness about this ol’ chap. His Darcy character epitomized the desire women have for a man to take his stand. Initially quiet, giving no signal at all as to the liking of a woman, and yet underneath giving off this unmistakable chemistry that is alluring and seductive. But nothing is said.
In Colin’s own words: Every single film since “Pride and Prejudice” (1995)] there’s been a scene where someone goes, “Well I think you’ve just killed Mr Darcy”. But he is a figure that won’t die. He is wandering somewhere. I can’t control him. I tried to play with it in Bridget Jone’s Diary (2001). I’ve never resented it: if it wasn’t for him I might be languishing, but part of me thinks I should do this postmodern thing, change my name by deed poll to Mr Darcy. Then people can come up to me and say, ‘But you are not Mr Darcy’ which would be different. I dare say it will be my saving grace when the only employment available to me is opening supermarkets dressed in breeches and a wig.
“Through my film work, I’ve tended to represent precisely the kind of Englishman that I’m not – the repressed figure of mythology. It’s hard to run into those guys now. I’ll give you £100 for every guy with a bowler hat and umbrella you see walking the streets of London who’s not going to a fancy dress party. My generation weren’t saying, “I can’t wait to grow up so I can put on a pin-stripe suit and go to an office”. They were piercing their ears and learning to play the guitar. If you want to define a modern Englishman, you might as well look at Keith Richards, Johnny Rotten or Ray Winstone, rather than John Major or Prince Charles”.
So to all the Englishmen out there, Gents – be who you be! Be the authentic you, not the expectation of what society in all countries are expecting you to be. Seek the affiliation you have in all things & live it!