Colin Firth on ‘Arthur Newman’ and How Winning an Oscar “Opens Doors”

arthur-newman-colin-firthYour career doesn’t automatically change once you’ve won an Oscar—at least according to Colin Firth.  The British actor claims that transformation happens slowly.

“In some ways it’s happening now…An Oscar doesn’t suddenly work the miracle that manufactures a plethora of great writers who are suddenly ready to come to you with fully financed films, with the right director attached, landing on your table saying: Take your pick. It’s not as coherent as that,” he said in an interview with Yahoo! News.

Not that Firth is knocking his Oscar win for his role in 2010’s The King’s Speech.  “It definitely opens doors,” he admitted.  “There are ways in.  If you want to reach somebody to get the collaboration on something, they’ll talk to you.  That’s a very powerful difference I’ve noted.”

“It’s useful.  I think that’s probably the healthiest way to look at it, rather than have something that gets preserved on a shelf.  Take it and use it as a tool.  Then it has meaning rather than just something to look back on.  You can’t live on one moment.  And you can’t allow either a crisis or a triumph to be the only thing that defines you.”

Firth realizes that he has the rest of his acting career to keep proving himself, saying “you’ve got the rest of your tasks ahead of you.  Of course there’s immense reassurance [in having an Oscar] and it does give you a license for a certain freedom to do what you want and not have to prove something.”

Firth is using his Oscar popularity to choose projects that interest him, like the upcoming indie Arthur Newman.  The 52-year-old fell in love with the lead character.  “He really is incredibly boring and that intrigued me,” he said.  “It always has.  What is actually going on?  What are the dynamics behind somebody languishing in a disappointing, suburban life?  What heroism is possible?”

“We trap ourselves in all sorts of ways, however unusual or extraordinary our existence might seem from the outside.  There are all kinds of ways in which we find ourselves on a treadmill.  If people dare to test the boundaries and step outside, it’s often characterized as running away from problems.  But you can’t look at it that way.  In Arthur Newman’s case, in some ways he was probably running in to something that was more awake and more authentic.”

Arthur Newman is currently playing in limited release.

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