Oh, Colin... (Skip to 1:00 for the juicy bits) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ1gp3kjoWQ
With the Oscars fast approaching and with Colin Firth as a major contender for Best Actor, there seems to be a bit of a fervor in discussing his roles leading up to his nominated role as King George VI
in The King's Speech
. I always find it amusing how he finds small roles that he likes, for better or worse, to combat type. Since very few people see these movies, few people seem to notice that he has no desire to be a Hugh Grant
The most enjoyable part of Mamma Mia!
for me, and there's not much that I found enjoyable about it, was the stretch at the end where
Colin Firth seems to become completely thrilled and excited about his role. He's
prancing around without a shirt on/in sequined spandex, and he's absolutely unapologetic about it.
Don't mind him, he's just having a moment
Colin Firth has a rebellious streak about him when it comes
to being the leading man. He doesn't want to be a typical British romantic lead, but that's what his general fandom most wants him to be. To pull a quote from the interview, he sees himself not as a brooding British hero but as a "drag queen" who cannot resist spandex or mascara.
In his post-1995 career, there are three fairly prominent homosexual roles that he has played, to varying degrees of success. His first was the aforementioned role in Mamma Mia! as Harry Bright, a man who comes out at the end of the movie in a rather awkward fashion. Following that, he tried again as Lord Henry Wotton in Dorian Gray
- arguably not gay, but since the character in the novel is self-insert of Oscar Wilde's ideals, I'm counting it. The writing of the script in general is so far from Wilde's wit that he doesn't come close to achieving what George Sanders
did in the same role. Still, his role as Wotton and his languid charisma was one of the few redeeming qualities of that movie. In the same year, he starred as the depressed Professor George Falconer in A Single Man
, earning his first nomination from the Academy. Even though he sees himself as a drag queen, Colin is, in fact, straight and feels that his recognition for playing a gay character in A Single Man is limiting potential acceptance of gay actors in Hollywood. He is very proud of his roles in Mamma Mia! and A Single Man, but I wonder if this type of character is something he will pursue later on.
"Is she fertile?"
His other departures from type include the painter Vermeer, who apparently constantly needs to have sex, in Girl with a Pearl Earring
, the villainous Lord Wessex in
Shakespeare in Love
, and the surprisingly rakish Mr. Whittaker in Easy Virtue
. Each movie has at least one creepy, erotic moment involving a much younger blonde. (His question of "Is she obedient?" as Wessex prompts the reply "As any
mule in Christendom, but if you are the man to ride her, there are
rubies in the saddlebag.")
Regardless of the specifics, Colin Firth's memorable roles- although perhaps this says more about me than it does about him- seem to always have a connection to sexuality in some way... except for the King's Speech. The new recognition coming to him as an actor is certainly opening many doors for him, and his rebellions against type may wind up being recognized by mainstream moviegoers. I don't know how he'll choose to break free from his box now that he can essentially do whatever he wants, but I will make one request: Stay sexy, my friend.