Firth to take break from film froth

LONDON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Mr. Darcy fans, brace yourselves: Colin Firth says he is returning to the dark side.

Asked recently if he fears being typecast as a dashing romantic lead, the handsome Brit told reporters in London that after playing a string of nice boys, he is happy to portray again darker, more complex men like he did in "Valmont," "Tumbledown," "Circle of Friends," "The English Patient" and "Shakespeare in Love." (Fortunately, before Firth goes, he will be seen at his most unabashedly romantic best in the excellent new film, "Love Actually," penned and directed by the writer of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill.")


"I think I've been sort of drifting back that way, hopefully. I've just done a (psychological thriller) called 'Trauma,' in which I'm anything but affable ... And the film before that, 'Girl With a Pearl Earring,' I don't think he was affable or earnest particularly.

"But the question is right. I did feel there was quite a lot of approachable, well-meaning romantic comedy and I wanted to take a bit of a turn in another direction," explained the actor best-known for playing heroes in the wildly popular BBC miniseries "Pride and Prejudice" and the big-screen romantic comedies "Bridget Jones's Diary," "The Importance of Being Earnest" and "What a Girl Wants."


The fact Firth is taking a break from the romantic-comedy business might good news for the actor's "Love Actually" and "Bridget Jones's Diary" co-star, Hugh Grant.

Asked if he minded appearing in an ensemble cast where everyone -- including Firth -- has the opportunity to be funny and sexy and wonderful, Grant joked: "I always hope Colin will be bad. And ugly. And, indeed, I think he is."

"Love Actually" opens Nov. 7 and "Girl With a Pearl Earring," in which Firth plays painter Johannes Vermeer, opens Dec. 12. The actor will also reprise his role as Mark Darcy in the upcoming sequel, "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason."

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