If Firth has his way, we would forever forget the fact that he smoldered his way into our hearts in the 1995 mini-series of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, a breakthrough role that he continues to be most remembered for. Being a romantic heartthrob has become a bit of a reluctant mantle to bear, and he has publically distanced his relationship with the archetypal hunk Mr. Darcy. In the thirteen years since he plunged into the Pemberley pond and into our hearts, he has tried hard to ditch the Darcy persona with a diverse array of acting roles in a variety of movies from the recent pensive When Did You Last See Your Father (2007), to the opulent Shakespeare in Love (1998), all to no avail.
When Mamma Mia hits the big screen in July, film goers will get a gander at his disco dancing moves and renditions of Abba 70’s pop ballads such as “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”, and “I have a Dream”. In a recent interview with late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien, Firth deflected any future objections to his singing talent by owning up to the fact that he doesn’t really sing in his role as Harry Bright, just kind of talks his way through it, an old trick that Rex Harrison applied to his interpretation of Henry Higgins in the musical My Fair Lady. Fans of Firth will remember his singing “Lady Come Down” with Rupert Everett in the movie The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) and be grateful that he chose this talking technique for his songs!
Regardless of Colin Firth’s reluctance at being remembered as Mr. Darcy, he is extremely popular and has made ten movies in two years. We will not object in the least to his claim to being “the hardest working man in movies”, and be grateful that he chose to participate in the big-screen adaptation of one of our favorite 70’s retro musicals. He may very well shake off that Darcy stigma and charm our socks off with his disco dancing! Nah -- I prefer him in a quadrille any day!
Cheers, Laurel Ann