Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

{Firth Bares All in Tale of} {}

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

{Firth Bares All in Tale of} {}

Article excerpt

OF all the acclaim that's come to Colin Firth's depiction of hidden grief in A Single Man, precious little of it has focused on the physical Firth.

At 49, the Golden Globe nominee looks 10 years younger and as fit as he was in those glory days as Mr Darcy on TV's Pride and Prejudice.

"I pick up the script, and it says 'Naked man lies on bed.' And then a few pages in, 'Naked man jumps in ocean'," Firth recalls.

"Well, I thought. It's time. One more push against gravity before I turn 50 and it's all downhill."

The actor whipped himself into shape, physically and mentally.

And the result is one of the most lauded performances of the year, a film that has already earned Firth a lovefest from the press - he "gives his most nuanced, compelling performance" (Screen International).

"I'm thrilled by the way people are reacting to this film, partly because this film is small, personal and I didn't feel like I was part of some big scene, some huge film," he says from London.

"To be given a whole day in the life of a man, playing a character who is never off-screen, and be working with such a small group of people and do it in just 21 very intense and intimate days, and then have people love it? That's as good as it gets."

But he's been here before - the acclaim, the high profile.

He knows better than to let it go to his head.

"This is happening as I continue my day job. Filming another movie (The King's Speech) that's just as intense, with just as long hours. So while I'm glowing from the fact that people are saying lovely things about this film, I'm in the middle of working on the next one, which keeps your feet on the ground."

Firth had his first blush of stardom during the mania of 1995's Pride and Prejudice, a Jane Austen TV miniseries that so took over Britain that it inspired Bridget Jones' Diary, with Firth going on to play the Darcy-ish lead in that, too, opposite Renee Zellweger.

Mark Strong, who worked with him back then (they did Fever Pitch in 1997) says, "What's wonderful about something like this is that it's happening this time to someone who has been doing it long enough to know the vagaries of the business". …

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