il Venerdi (October 12, 2001), by Frederica Lamberti Zanardi
Translation courtesy of Janet

His name is Colin, Colin Firth. In England he is a star, and he’s about to take off here in the film that recounts the adventures of the most famous single of the moment, and he defeats someone who is a seducer by profession. Can you explain how you managed that?

To win Bridget's love,
I even beat up Hugh Grant

After this film, things will never be the same. Having beaten Hugh Grant, the incarnation of British fascination and glamour, is no small thing. Colin Firth is the man who not only wins Grant’s girlfriend but who also beats him in a fight. Yes, that’s indeed what happens to him in his role as Mark Darcy, the austere and sullen lawyer who wins the heart of Bridget Jones in the film based on Helen Fielding’s novel Bridget Jones’s Diary. A bestseller (it came out in 1996 and has sold more than 4 million copies; published in Italy by Sonzogno) that has entertained millions of women, especially single ones, who are quick to identify with this funny thirtysomething Englishwoman, who, with a number of extra pounds, is in search of soulmate. On the way, she’ll meet two completely different men: Daniel, her boss, the classic ladykiller and a bit of a shit but very fascinating, and Mark, a friend of the family’s, who is too serious but who is reliable. The film, a faithful reproduction of the novel, comes out in Italy on October 19 and has as its stars Renée Zellweger (Bridget Jones), Hugh Grant (Daniel), and Colin Firth (Mark Darcy).

Firth is forty, lives in London, and has been in successful films such as Shakespeare in Love and The English Patient, but most of all he conquered the female British public playing Mr Darcy in the television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. And given that Mark Darcy in Helen Fielding’s book was inspired by Jane Austen’s hero, the role couldn’t have been anyone but his.
How did it feel to beat Hugh Grant as a lover?
A:  The role of the winner doesn’t please me very much. My friends, my mother, were very pleased that I ended up with Bridget. But playing people who lose interests me more. The character who loses the woman suffers more and is more complex. Mark Darcy is very held in, reserved, introverted. He represents the old type of British person, the kind that almost doesn’t exist anymore. The character played by Hugh is closer to the Brit of today. 
In real life are you more like Mark or Daniel?
A: I’m a mix of both. Also, in all roles that an actor plays there’s a part of himself/herself. I had been Daniel—but that was in the past. A confirmed bachelor who didn’t want to be tied down. Now I’m more like Mark.  But not too much like him.
And have you ever been, like Bridget, in a desperate state, as a single in search of soulmate?
A: I was never desperate. To tell the truth, there are few men who fear not being able to find a companion. Ten years ago I was happy being single. In general I was better alone than as part of a couple. Up until five years ago. 
What happened five years ago?
A: I met Livia, my wife. She is Italian and we met in Colombia, during the filming of Nostromo. It was a coproduction of the Rai and BBC, and she was working on the Italian production team. I didn’t have any prejudices against marriage—it was simply that I had never met a person who made me say, “OK, I want to spend my whole life with you.” With Livia it happened. Now we have a baby, Luca, who is six months old. He was born in Rome.
Do you by any chance have any intention of moving to Italy?
A: It would please me a lot. Unfortunately the work I do makes it impossible. I don’t speak Italian well. And I don’t like dubbing. But I like Italian cinema.
With what Italian director would you like to work?
A: With Gabrield Muccino. I saw L’ultimo bacio and I liked it a lot. It had a distinctive tone. You could see that he knows how to direct actors well. And I’m also a fan of Gianni Amelio and Giuseppe Tornatore.
Why did you decide to become an actor?
A: I was in a school play at the age of 5 and everyone said that I was good. I liked that. And I was always fascinated by stories. I still am, and I like to tell stories. And I’ve begun to write.
A: It’s still a hobby, but I’ve published a story. When I act, I pretend to be someone else, you mask yourself/hide yourself. In writing, on the other hand, you reveal yourself. The first time that someone that I didn’t know read a story of mine, I felt much more exposed than I imagined. Someone was entering into my thoughts, into my space. I realized how vulnerable a writer is. Yes, I want to continue to write.
In the film, you are in a fist fight for Bridget. Did it ever happen to you to fight over a woman?
A: It happened once, when I was 19. I was attacked by a jealous ex-fiance, but I lost at the first blow.
In the film you win Bridget by saying: I like you just as you are. What kind of woman do you like in real life?
A: There doesn’t exist a type. A person is like a cocktail. Some qualities that work for one woman would be defects in another. At the bottom of all good things there is, in my opinion, a mix of contrary elements. Let’s take an example: a woman is bit of a woman and a bit of a child. Or else one might be very feminine but a little masculine. This fascinates me. Bridget is Bambi with a cigarette in her mouth. That’s why I’m in love with her.

With additional thanks to Mary
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