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People in Film | Colin Firth

Posted October 24, 2011 to photo album "People in Film | Colin Firth"

Whether as a spy, a single man, a king, or a romantic icon, Colin Firth has always been able to bring a clear, albeit complex, sense of humanity to his characters.

Colin Firth | A Natural Spy
Colin Firth | Growing Up as an Outsider
Colin Firth | Becoming an Actor
Colin Firth | More than Mr. Darcy
Colin Firth | Finding his Voice
Colin Firth | Finding his Voice

Colin Firth | Finding his Voice

Colin Firth in THE KING’S SPEECH

While Firth received critical attention, and much female adulation, his career recently has risen to a new level. Of course, in lighter fare, like LOVE ACTUALLY, MAMMA MIA, and EASY VIRTUE, Firth has skillfully showcased those qualities that people loved in him as Darcy. But filmmakers knew there was much more to him. When fashion designer-turned-filmmaker Tom Ford looked for someone to play the lead in his adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A SINGLE MAN, he turned to Firth. Ford explained to the New York Times, “Some actors fake things, but with him, whatever it is—the expression in his eyes, the subtle movement of his face—communicates what the character is feeling. He’s perfect because the character is so much about restraint, about holding yourself together on the surface.” Entertainment Weekly’s reviewer Owen Gleiberman highlighted what Ford saw when he wrote, “Colin Firth is an intensely likable actor, but in every movie I've ever seen him in he is always…Colin Firth: witty, diffident, with that resignation hanging over his every grin and grimace. In A SINGLE MAN, though, I felt as if I were seeing him for the first time.” This new take led Firth to being nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor.  A year later, director Tom Hooper saw the same emotional depth in Firth when he was casting THE KING’S SPEECH. While Firth was wrong physically to play King George VI, there was an emotional connection, a deep-seated sense of humanity. As Hooper points out, “It's no surprise Colin isn't cast as a testosterone-fueled action hero. He doesn't get cast as the bad guy. It's not in his DNA.” In his review for The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern saw this too, saying, “what Mr. Firth makes of his role is sheer magic. Fear, forlorn hopelessness, self-irony, self-loathing, towering anger, unyielding courage, he plays it all with Shakespearean fullness and Chekhovian tact, and all by way of revealing the memorable presence of a good man.” With such praise, the fact Firth would win the Oscar for Best Actor seemed all but obvious.