Monday 30th December 2013
by SIOBHAN SYNNOT
Oscar clout has enabled Colin Firth to make his pet project, a harrowing testament to human cruelty that is also a tribute to a remarkable Scot
Can an Oscar change your life? Or just hang a burden of expectation around the neck that can induce paralysis? Renée Zellweger, Halle Berry and Adrien Brody never made it back to the A-list after their wins. Hilary Swank has two awards, which is also the number of films most people can name that star Hilary Swank.
Two years ago, when Colin Firth held the statuette in both hands for The King’s Speech, he fretted, “I have a feeling my career has just peaked,” then promised the academy a night of celebratory bad dancing. It took a little longer for the film industry to respond: “One day I had three bad scripts on my desk,” he says, “the next day I had 300.”
Firth’s Oscar has had a nomadic existence since 2011, travelling around the houses of friends and family, or off to his sons’ school for show and tell sessions, where anyone can pose with it. It’s not yet been used as a door stop, but “it definitely opens doors. There are two ways of dealing with such an immense piece of good fortune. One is to feel pressure and say you have to do everything right – and you won’t. Or you can say ‘I’ve got that in the bag, I can do what I want,’ and if you want to reach somebody to get the collaboration on something, then they’ll talk to you.”
The Railway Man is the first beneficiary of Firth’s new clout. Based on Eric Lomax’s memoir of being forced to work on the Burma-Thailand train line known as the Railway of Death, it is a war drama wrapped in a love story. Firth has wanted to make this film for years, but the money only arrived when he received his golden gong.
READ MORE HERE: http://www.scotsman.com/what-s-on/film/englishman-colin-firth-on-becoming-a-scots-hero-1-3249762