Five Minutes With: Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey

By Michele Manelis

Getty Images
Getty Images
What you don't know about the men of Bridget Jones. MiNDFOOD catches up with Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey to find out.

COLIN FIRTH – Mark Darcy

“Darcy who?”

It’s funny. I have no real recollection of playing him, however many times I’ve done it. I did it, walked away, saw the premiere and that was it! So I had to look at it again just to see if I could recall the tone of it and to make sure that I was being consistent. To me, it’s the other people who have ownership of the films much more than I do. One has to do one’s best to honour that. I very rarely, almost never watch my old work.

Bridget Jones’ Baby – And the Verdict is….

I like it. I thought it was moving and funny. But I’m not the best judge.

Why he loves Renee Zellweger

She’s so alive, so positive and lights up the room.

Everyone needs some me-time

Well, the funny thing is I actually do take long breaks but apparently no one notices! I’m really not as busy as I look! I did say in an interview once, ‘I’m thinking I might take six months off, or maybe a year…’ And it got turned into a bit of a thing. “Colin Firth’s taking a sabbatical!” And then I started getting asked questions about it. I realised, actually, that I had taken a year out and nobody knew. So I get more credit for being a hard worker than I deserve.

Away from the camera

I don’t have specific hobbies, I don’t have a life like Patrick (Dempsey) racing cars or anything. But I have a family, I have kids, so that answers a lot of that. And I have certain social and political things that engage me. I’m also a producer, now, and that is actually incredibly time consuming. But that’s not really not working. Recreationally, I like the theatre, I like music, I like playing a bit. I have no talent, but I amuse myself. And I’m a fairly passionate reader.

The last book I read was….

Human Acts by a Korean writer called Han Kang, which is about the Gwangju student uprising. It’s brilliant.

The tale of two Darcy’s

Of the two roles I’ve played called Mr. Darcy, Maybe Pride And Prejudice wins, in terms of the number of comments I’ve got in my career. And I think that’s astonishing because it’s more than 20 years ago. I think that’s partly because it’s television, it has a different effect. And if people are going to watch a TV series, it really does mean they’ve spent six hours with you.

Mamma Mia!

I have to say that it takes a lot to beat the experience of filming Mamma Mia! Partly because it was just so silly. It was great fun. It was so far from anything I knew anything about. When I first read the script I didn’t understand a single word because it was interspersed with Abba lyrics. I didn’t know what it was saying about anything. I’ve got a lot of time for Abba, having had to do a couple of the songs, even played one on the guitar. And they’re a lot more sophisticated that you might think! I’d never claimed to be able to sing, I’d never claimed to be much of a musician, I’d never claimed to be able to dance or do any of these things. so there was nothing riding on it for me, you know? I could be really, really terrible and it was still okay! At least that’s what I told myself (laughs). I’m not sure that’s how Benny and Bjorn saw it! But I found it very, very liberating. It was wonderful and we were on a Greek island. It was just great.
The New Kid in Town

Well, it was a little scary at first, but enough time had gone by that everyone was was a little nervous coming back into it, so that was good. But I wondered how it would turn out. I saw the movie in a screening by myself so I’d like to see it with an audience to see how people respond to it. I always find it hard watching myself and I don’t take any enjoyment in that, but I hope people enjoy it.

Stepping into Hugh Grant’s shoes

They are big shoes, absolutely! He’s very funny and of course, also known for this role. To step in you have to find your own way, and I knew what I was getting myself into, but there’s no competition. This is a new character. You’re living with what Hugh did with his character, and it’s wonderful and part of the success of the film but my character is very different. He’s an American. And like the dynamic between Hugh and Colin, they both love her, they both care about what’s going to happen to the baby. So we decided to use that, how they do the one-upmanship and change the dynamic slightly.

Romance in the age of Tinder

No matter who you are, you’ll eventually want the intimacy and the consistency you have with the same person. Of course it depends on the individual and what they’re looking for in their life.

He could always quit his day job and join the circus…

One day at school the power had gone out and the shop teacher didn’t know what to do with us because we couldn’t use any of the power tools, so he started juggling. I asked him to show me how to do that and I picked it up almost right away. So any time anybody finds out that I juggle, they like to see it, there’s a real fascination there. Anybody who can juggle, people love that, kids especially, so it was something that was just to entertain the kids at birthday parties and shows like that. I think it was $75 a gig, which for me was a lot of money back then.

What’s great about Bridget?

People have such passion for Bridget, she’s tapped into something that is an archetype that people really identify with. She’s disarming, she’s not perfect, she’s just a normal person struggling to make it through the world. That’s refreshing when all we see in cinema right now in superheroes.

His other career

I have to pay for my own insurance because I race cars. It makes the studios nervous! But I love racing cars, it’s my passion.


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