PHOTO COURTESY OF CINEDIGMColin Firth as Arthur Newman and Emily Blunt as Mike Fitzgerald in “Arthur Newman.”
POSTED MAY. 8, 2013, 9:36 AM
BEVERLY COHN / EDITOR-AT-LARGE
Co-starring Emily Blunt, the film explores the quest for life-changing decisions and takes the viewer through that odyssey. When Colin Firth walks into the room, he fills it with his delightful presence and charm. Having won every conceivable award for his riveting performance as King George VI in “The King’s Speech,” including the Oscar for Best Actor, one wondered could he shake off that strong association.
Indeed he has in his subsequent films that includes “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”
He does it again in his 360-degrees different character of Arthur Newman in the film of the same name.
Firth is a good-luck charm for in addition to “The King's Speech,” two of his other pictures have won the Academy Award for Best Picture – “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
Who could ever forget Emily Blunt’s performance as the bedraggled assistant to Meryl Streep’s hard-hearted Miranda in “The Devil Wears Prada” as well as her performances in subsequence films including “The Young Victoria,” “The Adjustment Bureau,” “Salmon Fishing in Yemen,” “Your Sister’s Sister,” “The Five-Year Engagement,” and “Looper.” Written by Becky Johnston and directed by Dante Ariola, Blunt plays Michaela (Mike) who hooks up with Colin Firth’s character of Arthur Newman.
Firth and Blunt recently sat down with a select group of journalists to discuss their latest film and the following has been edited for content and continuity.
Is it easy to develop an American Accent?
Firth: No. But you focus on the character and that’s his voice. It’s not negotiable after a while. It’s who you hear and it’s not anybody else.
Did you go in and out during the shoot?
Blunt: We did unfortunately because we’re both Brits. Normally when I do an accent, for example when I did “Looper,” I was working with this little boy so I kind of stayed in the accent so he didn’t get confused, but I didn’t have a chance with Colin because we’re so completely British.
Firth: Your speech pattern changes. It’s not unlike working with a stutter in a way. It starts to find its way into your speech. Again, everybody’s stutter is different. It’s not a generic stutter. It’s this particular guy and how he expresses himself.
What did you find in the script that made you want to play the character?
Firth: It had a lot of unknowns for me. I read it and had a lot of questions. I liked the idea and was fascinated by the notion of ordinariness or apparent ordinariness; people who you could dismiss as ordinary or boring; people whose lives seem to be a series of disappointments and the potential for drama in what seems to be an unremarkable quiet life. That is something that I found fascinating – heroism not written on a big super hero stage.
Blunt: The script in general terms was just completely refreshing in how original it was. It was pretty uncompromising actually and didn’t want to conform to being any genre or anything I could sum up in a one-liner pitch, but I liked the idea of the more we mask ourselves, maybe the freer we are able to be within ourselves. I think the idea that at some point everyone wants to escape or run away or take on a different identity is something we’ve all felt. I don’t particularly think that these characters are necessarily crazy. I think they are just acting on that impulse. But, I just couldn’t put my finger on quite why I was so drawn to the script. I think that’s quite a good way in if you feel there’s some ambiguity there to play with.