THE WORLD OF COLIN FIRTH
Dec 14,2010 - 11:02 AM
Ahead of his appearance at the Opening Night Gala, Colin Firth sat down with the DIFF Daily and shared his philosophy of life
ON WHAT BEING AN ACTOR IS REALLY ABOUT:
Your job description to enter an experience which is not your own and you take whatever imaginative journey you can into that person’s point of view and you try to own it, to inhabit it.
ON EXPRESSING EMOTION BY NOT EXPRESSING EMOTION:
If you’re playing someone who is grieving, then you have to move towards grief, experience grief, want to grieve. So you’re always making this journey inwards and the journey outwards. Basically, the way to play emotion is try not to have the emotion, this is method acting, what Stanislavsky is all about - you never actually play the emotion, this was one of the mantras that was drummed into us as drama students. The emotion is there, you always have to play against that. The emotion is your obstacle. If an actor walks on stage, trying to cry, that’s going to be a hideously unconvincing spectacle. A character bursting with sadness and trying not to cry– that’s effective storytelling.
ON MEETING THE PRESS IN FOREIGN PLACES:
When you’re out on the awards circuit, your feet are a few inches above the ground for most of the time. Also, you’re jetlagged all the time! You don’t usually factor this in, when you watch someone giving an interview on the red carpet. They’ve usually just stepped off a plane, and chances are the journalist is exactly the same because they’ve just flown in as well, they’re all fuelled on martinis or god knows what, so it’s an extraordinary thing, what is being said on film is basically babbling, and it’s being written up by someone who is struggling to remain conscious as well.
ON BEING A KING:
This is not another biopic of a great hero, rather King George is a man who was obscured by the history books. And that’s partly because the figures that loom so large in his generation are so colourful. Churchill, for instance, would throw anyone into the shadows as would, frankly, Hitler and Mussolini. These are some very big personalities. And because his qualities are so much more unassuming and his story is about coming out of the shadows and doing his duty with humility, it doesn’t have so much obvious drama. Yet in telling the story of someone whose drama is so personal, so private, was very appealing to me.
ON BEING LUCKY:
It’s the material you get. But I consider myself terribly lucky to get work in the first place at all, and then I consider myself lucky to get work that anyone saw – I mean, it just wasn’t happening to 99 percent of my peers, the odds aren’t good in this profession. I wasn’t the most talented person in my class at drama school and a lot of them haven’t been heard from again.
ON BEING TYPECAST:
Well, any typecasting is better than not being cast. I remember, I got to my mid-30s and I thought, well, I’ve never done a comedy and I suppose I never will. I remember someone saying why do you think no one ever wants you in comedies? Do you suppose you don’t belong in that genre? Fast-forward 10 years and it’s like, ‘Why do you always do comedies?’
Variety presented the International Star of the Year Award to Colin Firth ahead of a ‘Conversation’ with the British star. Carey Mulligan (‘An Education’, ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’) introduced Firth to a packed house of Firth fans in the First Group Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
The actor, who is widely tipped for an Academy nod for his performance in ‘The King’s Speech’, which opened DIFF on Sunday, spoke of his role as King George VI in the film, his career, landmark films such as ‘A Single Man’, and of course, the female adulation following his portrayal of one of literature’s best-loved men, Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’.