Colin Fears the Costume Drama Curse; the BBC's Latest Big-Budget Series Has All the Hallmarks That Make an Epic Flop

Article excerpt

Colin Firth is keeping his fingers crossed that he doesn't become the latest victim of TV's costume drama curse.

He was a sexy sensation in breeches as the star of the BBC's hit version of the Jane Austen romance, Pride And Prejudice.

Now he's returned to the world of corsets and costumes for another ambitious adaptation of a literary classic, Joseph Conrad's Nostromo.

But already there are rumblings which suggest that the pounds 10 million series might be a big- budget flop, like last year's epic drama disaster, Rhodes.

Certainly Nostromo has some hurdles to get over. For starters, it has been considered that Conrad's story - about ambition and corruption in a fictional South American country - would be tricky to translate to te screen.

There have been other, unsuccessful attempts to film the story.

Legendary film-maker David Lean - of Lawrence of Arabia fame - had intended it to be his next project. But he died before he could make the movie.

It has also been suggested that modern audiences might find the complex drama just a teeny bit dull and lacking in passion.

Then there's the fact that Nostromo, which has taken four years to make, is a co- production, involving companies from Italy, Spain and America.

And the cast includes foreign actors like Claudio Amendola, Joaquim De Almedia and Arnoldo Foa - which may stir memories of The Borgias, another unfortunate BBC series which featured stars whose first language was not English.

On the plus side, obviously, is Colin Firth, who has achieved sex symbol status ever since his portrayal of Darcy in Pride And Prejudice cast a spell over female viewers.

It remains to be seen whether the pulling power of Firth - soon to be seen as an obsessed football fan in the movie Fever Pitch and the Oscar favourite The English Patient - can help make Nostromo a winner. …