played Kristin Scott Thomas's adoring,
betrayed husband in the 1996 Oscar winner, The English Patient,
and this year he's back in another high-prestige picture, A
Acres. Actually this is what English actor Colin Firth's been doing
all along—he's turned in a decade of strong, intelligent
in lit pics like Milos Forman's Valmont (1989) and the
production of Pride and Prejudice, which aired in this country
Firth plays out the drama of adultery again, but this time around he
the gal. Both gals, actually—Michelle Pfeiffer and Jessica Lange,
who are struggling with an overbearing father who's obsessed with
up the inheritance of his Iowa farmland. "It's about the burden that
generation leaves on another," says Firth. As Jess, Firth is a
farmer who's more interested in passion than cabbages—or commitment. "I
break up both their marriages," he explains. "It's not even your
weepy tearjerker. I don't think it pulls any punches. I think that
some people nervous."
of A Thousand Acres, Firth is one of an increasing number of
actors coming out of England now—Rufus Sewell, Jeremy Northam, Jude
and so on. What is it with all these British thesps who have such
charm? Is there a new course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts?
thinks it has little to do with English acting technique. "It's a
by-product of having dark hair," he claims. "Only dark-haired people
If you scowl a lot and you've got blonde hair, usually you're petulant."