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Filling in the space (and the suit)
Colin Firth on fear, fashion and Tom Ford...
With Julianne Moore in A Single Man
Sharply dressed with Tom Ford
With Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones
With Rupert Everett in Another Country
10 Sep 1960, Grayshott, Hampshire
|B Y R I C H C L I N E
Since 1984, Colin Firth has been delivering first-rate performances in films and television programmes all over the world. Even before his breakthrough role in the 1995 BBC production of Pride & Prejudice, he'd had notable leading roles in Another Country and Milos Forman's Valmont. Not to mention starring roles in the likes of The English Patient, Fever Pitch, Shakespeare in Love, both Bridget Jones movies, and as Vermeer in Girl With a Pearl Earring. After singing through the mega-hit Mamma Mia in 2008 and being digitally altered in Robert Zemeckis' A Christmas Carol in 2009, he earned his first Oscar nomination (and a shelf-full of other awards) for Tom Ford's debut film A Single Man, based on the Christopher Isherwood novel. He stars as George, a university professor in 1962 Los Angeles struggling with grief after the death of his lover.
Obviously this is a period film. But do you see its view of a gay man in society as something from the past, or is it still relevant?
And the story is set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which echoes in our own climate of fear.
Could Isherwood's story have been updated to be set in the present day?
That's a very difficult one to answer. I don't think LA's changed that much, really. This character happens to be gay, but although George is struggling with a lot, he's certainly not struggling with his sexuality. Isherwood's characters don't seem to. So I don't know what it would have done to the film if you'd have set it in the present. You take the Cuban Missile Crisis out and put something else there, like the fear of terrorism, it's actually rather an interesting question. I think there's something about the characters of George and Charley [Julianne Moore] that just feels right in 1962. There's something about their whole cultural reference points that feel of that generation. But I think you could have updated it quite easily frankly. I just wouldn't have looked as good.
Yes, of course Tom Ford makes the film look great, but he also delivers strong characters.
How did he relate to his actors on set?
Well, it is an exquisitely designed film.
Yes. That beautiful house is something that Tom looked very, very hard for. He wanted it to be the place that George had chosen, because he wanted it to be cosy. But if the scene is me sitting there alone, listening to a phone ringing with a cup of coffee in front of me and the camera outside the window looking in at this lonely man, you don't need a director to say, "OK, this is about loneliness". I just think that's brilliant directing.
Did you know that the colours on-screen would be warming up when George had moments of clarity?
Did you make any extra effort to look more stylish for Tom when you first met him?
THANKS TO TO ICON • MAY.10
© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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