February 28, 2011 / 12:00 PM / 8 years ago

Oscar king Colin Firth says time to turn to comedy

LONDON (Reuters) - Oscar winner Colin Firth said he wanted to play a comic role after winning widespread critical acclaim and a best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the stammering King George VI in “The King’s Speech.”

British actor, Colin Firth, best actor winner for his role in "The King's Speech," poses backstage at the 83rd Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 27, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“I want to do comedy,” he told BBC radio early on Monday after winning his Oscar late on Sunday.

“I think gravitas is hugely over-egged and I would like to do something that amuses me now, change the pace, change the tone and I think it’s time to continue my long tradition of making a fool of myself.”

The 50-year-old Briton has already enjoyed success in lighter roles, notably as Mark Darcy — the top human rights lawyer who is hapless at love in the “Bridget Jones” series.

That role was a nod to his breakthrough as an actor, playing the aloof Mr. Darcy in a 1995 television adaptation of the Jane Austen novel “Pride and Prejudice.”

Asked whether his Oscar might help him shake off some of the associations with that role, Firth replied:

“I think Mr. Darcy will be alive and well for the rest of my life. I’d be rather sad to see him go. I think there’s a bit of a misconception that I’m disgruntled about the Darcy thing and I’m not remotely bothered by it.

“I would hate to see that tag leave me, so I’m very happy for it to follow me around.”

He described the feeling of being on stage to receive the highest movie accolade as “reeling backwards through space.”

“I realized when I got up there why some people completely fall apart,” he said.

“You’re reeling backwards through space. People don’t really want to see that, so you have to do your best to do your job with as much as grace as you can possibly muster.”

Firth was nominated for an Oscar last year in the same category, for his role as a closeted gay professor in the drama “A Single Man.”

Firth’s rivals this year were previous Oscar winners Javier Bardem for “Biutiful” and Jeff Bridges for “True Grit”; Jesse Eisenberg for “The Social Network”; and Oscars host James Franco for “127 Hours.”

Reporting by Michael Holden and Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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