As the dashing Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice, Colin Firth bewitched millions of women throughout Britain and beyond. Among them was Bridget Jones's Diary novelist Helen Fielding, who modeled the character of the aloof Mark Darcy after the brown-eyed 6'1" actor. Casting Firth in the film five years later was a no-brainer.
"The character is
Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy, so it is very hard to visualize anyone
says Bridget director Sharon Maguire. "Besides, he is also deeply
and easy on the eyes." But Firth, 40, is quick to point out where he
his brooding Darcys diverge: "I have far more of a sense of humor, and
physically I am much more animated." Actress Embeth Davidtz, who plays
Firth's colleague in Bridget, agrees: "Colin is bright and funny and
He has a perfect smile and that dark curly hair you want to run your
through." Firth hasn't always packed such a visual punch, though. As a
scrawny teen, the son of English academics kept his hair long, hoping
cultivate a hippie look. "I had no choice," he
Eventually he filled out, but he was still self-conscious when he had to strip for a scene in 1995's Circle of Friends. Saffron Burrows, his costar in the film, recalls that Firth was "just horrified, because his bum had to be shown." Two hours before the shoot, "Colin was eating lettuce for lunch," she says. "When I asked why, he said, 'Oh, cripes, I've just realized that we've got a love scene. I've got to diet!'"
Today, says Firth, "I'm far more comfortable with myself." Married to Italian film producer Livia Giuggioli, 31, who gave birth to son Luca in March (he also has son William, 10, by actress Meg Tilly), he is happily settled with his family in London. And though he tries to keep fit by swimming and running, he says, "I'm not pumped and I don't look like Brad Pitt. I never will." Nobody seems to be complaining.
for People taken at Syon Park;
Relative Values premiere photo by William Conran/PA
Return to Article Index