Celebrities in Classics is a regular feature where I highlight the classic novel adaptations some of my favourite actors have starred in over the course of their career.
WHO IS IT?
If there is any contemporary actor that we associate with the classics, it would be Colin Firth. He has a very long history of playing great characters from classic novels. In the minds of millions of fans, he will forever be known and best loved as Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.
WHAT’S SO FASCINATING?
Colin is recognized for his integrity as an actor and has won a number of awards for his work, particularly for his portrayal of King George VI in The King’s Speech. What I admire the most about Colin is his versatility as an actor. He’s not afraid to look silly (see Mamma Mia for a prime example) or take on roles that are the complete opposite of the romantic lead that made him famous.
Although I have probably seen him in earlier roles, I probably first took notice of Colin when he played Geoffrey Clifton in The English Patient, a husband who discovers his wife is in love with another man and doesn’t handle the news very well.
CLASSIC BOOK FILMOGRAPHY
1984 ~ Camille ~ Armand Duval
1986 ~ Lost Empires ~ Richard Herncastle
1987 ~ A Month in the Country ~ Tom Birkin
1987 ~ The Secret Garden ~ Colin Craven
1989 ~ Valmont ~ Valmont
1994 ~ Master of the Moor ~ Stephen Whalby
1995 ~ Circle of Friends ~ Simon Westward
1995 ~ Pride and Prejudice ~ Fitzwilliam Darcy
1996 ~ The English Patient ~ Geoffrey Clifton
1997 ~ A Thousand Acres ~ Jess Clark
1997 ~ Fever Pitch ~ Paul Ashworth
1997 ~ Nostromo ~ Charles Gould
1998 ~ Shakespeare in Love ~ Lord Wessex
1999 ~ The Turn of the Screw ~ The Master
2000 ~ Relative Values ~ Peter Ingleton
2001 ~ Bridget Jones’s Diary ~ Mark Darcy
2002 ~ The Importance of Being Earnest ~ Jack Worthing
2003 ~ Girl with a Pearl Earring ~ Johannes Vermeer
2005 ~ Nanny McPhee ~ Cedric Brown
2008 ~ Easy Virtue ~ Jim Whittaker
2009 ~ A Christmas ~ Carol Fred
2009 ~Dorian Gray ~ Lord Henry Wotton
2011 ~ Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ~ Bill Haydon
2014 ~ The Railway Man ~ Eric Lomax
2014 ~ Before I Go to Sleep ~ Ben Lucas
2016 ~ Genius ~ Maxwell Perkins
For more of Colin’s filmography, visit Wikipedia.
For all you Canadians, Colin lived near Maple Ridge, British Columbia from 1989 to 1995 with Canadian actress, Meg Tilly, whom he considers his first wife.
“Every single film since [Pride and Prejudice (1995)] 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’s Diary (2001). I’ve never resented it: if it wasn’t for him I might be languishing … 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.”