Five Fascinating TV And Film Facts: Colin Firth Special
As Firth celebrates his 55th birthday, we uncover some Firth facts - from that white shirt to fighting Hugh Grant
About that lake scene
The scene in which Colin Firth emerges from a lake in a soaking white t-shirt in the BBC's 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice has become iconic. But it wasn't planned that way."The wet shirt scene was intended to be a total full-frontal nudity scene," screenwriter Andrew Davies revealed at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. "He'd just spent weeks and months in London being polite with a group of stuffy people. He would have had a few hours in which he could be blissfully alone. It's a hot day, he arrives at this lake - so I thought he would strip completely off and dive down and just become a creature, an animal, just for once."Davies isn't sure why it was changed, joking: "They could have always cut to him standing on the bank diving in naked so it might have been something about Colin’s anxiety about love handles or something."
A lot of love for Austen
Not only has Colin Firth played Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and then in the Bridget Jones series, he's taken on the name of another Jane Austen character, too. Yes, in 2003's What A Girl Wants, Firth played Henry Dashwood, a character who shares his name with a character from Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
Exit at Paddington
Colin Firth was meant to voice Paddington Bear in the 2014 big-screen makeover, but said that "after a period of denial we've chosen 'conscious uncoupling'".The film, which introduced viewers to a CGI version of Michael Bond's well-loved children's character, was near completion when Firth announced his departure, saying producers had been in denial that his voice didn’t quite work."It's been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realisation that he simply doesn't have my voice," Firth revealed in a statement. "I've had the joy of seeing most of the film and it's going to be quite wonderful. I still feel rather protective of this bear and I'm pestering them all with suggestions for finding a voice worthy of him." The Hour and James Bond star Ben Whishaw went on to take on the title role.
Firth was interviewed by Bridget Jones
Mind-bogglingly, Colin Firth has been interviewed by Bridget Jones. The DVD extras for Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason show Renée Zellweger in character, interviewing the actor who plays her on-screen lover, talking to him about the film he originally played Mr Darcy in, which incidentally inspired the story they both went on to star in...It's full-force Bridget, too. She won't talk about anything other than that lake scene, keeps accidentally calling him Mark Darcy and barely mentions the film he's supposedly promoting.
Life imitating art
Firth and Hugh Grant played rivals in the big-screen outings of Helen Fielding's novels and the duo actually had a playful working relationship on set. In fact, they were often to be found remarking on each other's acting ability, intelligence, physique… The duo barely had any time on screen together in the films, with Firth noting that it was only ever really when they were fighting each other that they teamed up. Luckily, he teased, it was easier for the sequel as Grant had put on a bit of weight, so he could more easily grab his flesh.
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