Sunday Express, September 10, 2000, by Lara Ellsworth-Jones
 

As the two Bridget Jones's Diary Stars have birthdays we look at how they are shaping up

Colin and Hugh: Who's Top at 40?
 

Two of Britain's sexiest actors, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, turn 40 this weekend.  Both have managed to reach the milestone without acquiring a wrinkle.  Although they celebrate their birthdays while working on Bridget Jones's Diary they have little in common apart from their age.  The media-hounded Grant has just split up with his long-term girlfriend Liz Hurley while Firth hides from the limelight with his wife.  Lara Ellsworth-Jones rates them.
 

Colin Firth, born 10.09.1960
Most Known For
The merest mention of the name Colin Firth conjures up images of a gentleman dressed in tantalisingly soaked wet breeches and white shirt. The moment Firth, as Mr Darcy in the TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, jumped into a pond to cool off catapulted him into the firmament marked "objects of female desire", where he has remained ever since.

Love Life
To the dismay of many a lusty wench, Firth has now been married to Livia Giuggioli, a beautiful Italian scriptwriter, for more than three years.  And rather annoyingly he maintains a "wonderful" relationship with Meg Tilly, with whom he has a son Will now 10.

Starting Family at 40
When broached on the subject of having children with Livia, Firth has evasively replied, "It'll happen. You don't want to be too old."

Looks/Sex Appeal
According to OK! magazine, he just keeps improving with age. They officially named him a SAGO—sexier as they get older.

Style of Life
Firth has opted for the "noncelebrity" celebrity lifestyle.  Although splitting his life between Los Angeles and London, it is only to spend three months every year with his son. Otherwise he seems disturbingly normal.

On Being 40
Firth appears to be comfortable about turning 40, but displays worrying signs of terminal introspection. "On the whole I had a happy childhood, although I'm happier as an adult.  I feel like a bizarre genetic experiment that's gone wrong— it's all happened far too quickly." he has been quoted as saying.

Looking Forward
He can next be seen starring as none other than Darcy in the screen adaptation of Bridget Jones's Diary.  Bridget's Darcy is indeed based upon Firth's portrayal of Darcy in the epic TV series that gripped the nation six years ago.

Good Career Move
Ironically, Firth leapt to the status of sex symbol by keeping his clothes on.  There was a debate as to how many layers of clothing—if any—Darcy should be wearing when he took his famous dip. By keeping the dripping-wet breeches on, one's imagination was allowed to take over.

Homes and Houses
It was only after he was married that Firth moved out of his home in Hackney, East London, to the slightly more upmarket area of Barnsbury in Islington, North London.

Worth/Earnings
By concentrating on TV drama rather than films, he could not be expected to command a king's ransom. However, playing Darcy again in the Bridget Jones film may do wonders for Firth's bank balance.

You Didn't Know
Both Firth and Hugh Grant were born in the Chinese year of the rat. Rat people are known for their excessive charm.

Surprise Part
Firth first came to attention by playing a homosexual public schoolboy in the stage adaptation of Another Country. The role was take by Rupert Everett in the film version.

Fanciability rating:
With breeches - 10/10
Without breeches - 6/10


Hugh Grant, born 9.09.1960
Most Known For
Difficult one. It could be for performing a "lewd act" in a car on Sunset Boulevard with prostitute Divine Brown in 1995, or appearing as the boyishly cute and vulnerable Brit in Four Weddings and a Funeral the year before.

Love Life
To the joy of many an English rose, Grant has recently split from his girlfriend of 13 years, Liz Hurley. They met on the set of the Spanish film Rowing in the Wind in 1987. At the time of Grant's "indiscretion" Hurley claimed she would never "no, never, no, no" marry him. Seems she meant it.

Starting Family at 40
Hurley revealed that one reason for the split was their "weird" lack of desire to have children together, despite little bundles of joy being essential celebrity accessories these days. It seems unlikely that Grant will be making trips to Baby Gap in the near future.

Looks/Sex Appeal
Even at 40, he still manages to exude boyish charm. However, a recent survey for Company magazine of the 100 most sexy men in the world put Grant at a pathetic number 87, miles behind the top choice, Robbie Williams.

Style of Life
Having your girlfriend turn up on your shoulder to the premiere dressed in little more than a collection of nappy pins is a sure-fire way to get noticed with minimum effort. It remains to be seen if things will change for Grant now the long-term lovely has flown the nest.

On Being 40
Grant says, "I'm turning 40.  I'm half in denial and in complete misery. I know my friends are trying to plan some big event, but I'm going to be in hiding. I don't want too many people watching an old man cry."

Looking Forward
In Bridget Jones's Diary he plays Bridget's boss Daniel. who is rumoured to be a self-assured cad—a far cry from the mumbling mummy's boy Grant usually plays.

Good Career Move
After flopping in his film Extreme Measures, taking two years off work seems to have done wonders for Grant's career. He re-emerged from the party/premieres circuit with the box-office smash Notting Hill.

Homes and Houses
A luxury bachelor pad has just been added to the list of his extravagent homes. Although he has recently claimed that it was Hurley who persuaded him to invest in their £1million Chelsea property.

Worth/Earnings
At the time of Notting Hill's release Entertainment Weekly Magazine listed him in the £7million-£10million-per-film range alongside the likes of Kevin Costner, who is no stranger to the box office flop either.

You Didn't Know
Liz Hurley reportedly named their production company Simian because she thought that Grant resembled a monkey. And now they're no longer the best of primates.

Surprise Part
In 1987, Grant played a repressed homosexual in the Merchant-Ivory film Maurice, for which he won a Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival. He also played Frederic Chopin in Impromptu in 1991.

Franciability rating: 5/10

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