Firth on Darcy

“I certainly didn’t play him as some greatly admirable figure. He is the biggest bastard. That was the way in to him for me. In the book he is an extremely disagreeable man. He doesn’t have the demeanour of the good chap—it is the demeanour of an aloof, priggish, judgmental, harsh, selfish man. When he finally says anything about himself, he says: ‘I was taught to be proud in that way and think ill of others.’ That was the angle I went for. I found that the softening of Darcy was the most difficult stuff to do. It was far more fun to scowl and look out the windows and sneer at people and it is a character role—he only features in about 10-15 per cent of the footage time in the series. He is sort of off to the side and so that is very, very different from playing a proper central romantic hero.” [The Australian, May 10, 2008]

“I could not have been more wrong for it. I am totally unlike Mr Darcy. I talk like a blue streak, I don’t own a horse or acres of property. I’m a secondary-modern schoolkid with no links to nobility. Yet I played this taciturn, dark, sexy guy and everyone remembers it.” [ Sunday Times, June 17, 2007]

“When I told him [brother Jonathan Firth], all those years ago, that I’d landed the part of Darcy, he just looked me up and down then, after a long silence, said, ‘Really? Colin, I thought that Mr Darcy was supposed to be quite dashing, and handsome?’” [Yours Magazine, September 11-24, 2007]

“Every single film since there’s been a scene where someone goes, ‘Well I think you’ve just killed Mr Darcy’. But he is a figure that won’t die. He is wandering somewhere. I can’t control him. I tried to play with it in Bridget Jones. I’ve never resented it — if it wasn’t for him I might be languishing, but part of me thinks I should do this postmodern thing, change my name by deed poll to Mr Darcy. Then people can come up to me and say, ‘But you are not Mr Darcy’ which would be different. I dare say it will be my saving grace when the only employment available to me is opening supermarkets dressed in breeches and a wig.” [The Times, September 20, 2007]

“I was originally supposed to take all my clothes off and jump into the pool naked.  The moment where the man is a man instead of a stuffed shirt.  He’s riding on a sweaty horse and then he’s at one with the elements.  But the BBC wasn’t going to allow nudity, so an alternative had to be found.  There were meetings.  What could Darcy do with the pond, fully clothed?  The alternative went via underpants, which actually were not historical.  He would never have worn underpants.  They’d have looked ridiculous anyway.  In the end a decision was reached—if you can’t take everything off, just jump in.” [Woman and Home, November 2005]

“It came as something of a surprise after more than 10 years in the job! I thought it was all going very well—I was constantly in work and playing lead roles in reasonably high-profile projects—then it hit another level in terms of the response from female fans. It was a complete bolt from the blue—I certainly didn’t expect it from a TV series. And the name Darcy is something I’m stuck with forever. If I became an astronaut tomorrow and the first to land on Mars, the headline would be, ‘Mr Darcy Lands On Mars.’ It doesn’t matter what else I do, this tag will stay with me, but there are worse things. It’s wonderful to have made an impact playing anybody in your life, so I can live with it.” [She UK, December 2004]

“I have a loathing of being called Mr Darcy.  I played that part some years ago and I was very pleased with it, but I’ve been in many other productions since then.  To be called by the name of one of your characters, rather than by our own name, can be a little testing.” [Woman’s Own; September 29, 2003]

“Jane Austen never describes the men’s motives, maybe she cannot understand them. She was honest and never attempted what she herself could not comprehend. In her novels you can never find a conversation scene between two men without a woman present. But Jane Austen had a great instinct and her men are very credible, and are described with great subtlety.  I had to guess what Darcy was thinking: an apparently arrogant man, but in reality a bit shy and inexperienced.” [Caffe Europa, July 16, 2002]

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One response to “Firth on Darcy

  1. I’ve been to many Austen blogs and I must say your Firth on Darcy is a unique page. I’ve enjoyed all the quotes, some are really funny. Thanks for the collection!

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