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The following are a compilation of pre-premiere publicity and interviews.  Only exerpts relevant to "Nostromo" have been quoted, where appropriate. The links to the full texts are given, where possible. Original spelling has been preserved in the North American texts

Starweek magazine supplement published by The Toronto Star (Canada), January 1997
"Firth Class" by Jim Bawden
[...]
"I'm still trying to find someone who has actually read Joseph Conrad's Nostromo", jokes Colin Firth who scored so heavily as Mr. Darcy in the sumptuous TV version of Pride and Prejudice. "While most people read and reread Jane Austen, how many actually tackle Conrad's sprawling novel? That's why it can make the ideal television adaptation. Not many can compare it to the novel because so few have read it."
The epic novel - a sort of South American western - about love, honor and greed set in a mythical Latin American country in the 1890s is coming to Masterpiece Theatre [...]. The TV version is so realistic looking precisely because it was shot on actual locations in Costaguana de Indias in Colombia in unbelievably humid conditions. "Everybody came down with something or other," says Firth. "The heat can't be described, it was so bad. It was the most uncomfortable place I have ever been to and we were there for six months sharing the sweltering sun."
Firth stars as Englishman Charles Gould who arrives with his wife (Serena Scott Thomas) to take over his father 's silver mine which has been closed but may still yield a great deal of money. Only one man is not corrupted by the lure of riches - the dockyard workers' leader Nostromo (Italian star Claudio Amedola) whose name means "our man". He must try to save the contents of the mine after civil war breaks out in the countryside. 
Co-stars inlcude Albert Finney as Dr. Monygham, who has an uncanny knack for survival. And there is the intellectual gunrunner and dandy Martin Decoud (French-Canadian actor Lothaire Bluteau). There is American financier Joshua Holroyd (Brian Dennehy). And looking on is the aging but still beautiful innkeeper Teresa Viola (Claudia Cardinale).
"Somehow we made it," reports Firth. "We didn't know what we were in for. And it will be very interesting to see if television viewers take to Conrad the way they take to Austen. I rather guess Austen is more their cup of tea."
Nostromo is hardly a masterpiece but is still engrossing during its better moments. The miniseries works as a powerful allegory and its look at Third World conditions is surprisingly contemporary.  [...]

read full article at meluchie's Friends of Firth Scrap Book"
 


The Washington Post  (U.S.), early January 1997
"PBS tackles Conrad's 'Nostromo" by Patricia Brennan
 

PBS's "Mobil Masterpiece Theatre" turns Joseph Conrad's little-read 1904 novel "Nostromo" into a three-night miniseries. It is an international co-production that makes its debut here even before it is broadcast in England, where most "Masterpiece" stories originate. [...]

Italian actor Claudio Amendola plays the title role, with Colin Firth, Albert Finney, Serena Scott Thom-as, Claudia Cardinale
and Brian Dennehy.

[It is] a tale of societal conflict and greed, told through the story of a poor Latin American country thrown into turbulence when outsiders - in this case, British and American - step in.

There is a lot going on in "Nostromo" - some viewers may find it difficult to follow as the action moves between the settings and characters - and there's a large, international cast to play the many colourful roles. Their acting styles vary from subdued, in the case of Firth, to melodramatic, in the case of actors playing revolutionaries; dubbing is used for some of the minor parts.

Firth plays Charles Gould, who with his wife, Emilia (Scott Thomas) arrives in the fictional country of Costaguana, planning to open his late father's silver mine with the backing of an American tycoon, Joshua Holroyd (Dennehy).

Several people stand to become very wealthy, but at least one observer the local physician sees that the silver will corrupt. He is right: The country is torn apart by rival warlords who hope to seize the riches as well as the government.

In such a setting, few can be trusted. But one man is thought incorruptible: Giovanni Battista Fidanza, an Italian who is chief of
dock workers in the port town of Sulaco. The patronizing British call him Nostromo ("nostro uomo" -- "our man"). In an author's note, Conrad called him "a man with the weight of countless generations behind him and no parentage to boast of... like the People."

But the lust in this story is for riches, not romance, even though Nostromo has promised Dona Teresa (Cardinale) that he will marry one of her daughters and take care of the other, and even though lovely Emilia Gould is often alone, thanks to her work-obsessed husband.
[...]
 


 
The Orange County Register (US), 2 January 1997
FIRTH and FOREMOST
Television: Hot British actor Colin Firth plays an icy enigma in 'Nostromo' on PBS.
By Kinney Littlefield [tv critic]

No same old English sex icon, Colin Firth.  The Brit heartthrob made 1996 the Year of Firth Frenzy with his turn as smoldering, withholding Fitzwillam Darcy in A&E's "Pride and Prejudice". Now he ushers in '97 as icy businessman Charles Gould who falls obsessively in love with a silver mine in the PBS epic "'Nostromo", premiering Sunday.

"I'm actually aroused by the silver in a way - it's a peculiar fascination," Firth, 36, says on a visit to Los Angeles, speaking first person for his character. Such is the Darcy-like intensity of Firth, who smokes furiously. His hair has lightened from Darcy dark to its normal chestnut,
looking as it did in "The English Patient", in which he played a British hubby cuckolded by ragingly sexy Ralph Fiennes.

But Firth can burn as hot as Fiennes and just as implosively. "You know in Nostromo I make love to my wife in the silver mine - a real mixed message and mixed motivation, Firth says of Gould. "Ennio Morricone ('The Mission') who wrote the music for 'Nostromo, wrote a love theme for me and my wife. Later whenever I look at the silver it beccomes the same love theme."

In "Nostromo", based on Joseph Conrad's classic l904 novel, Gould travels to the fictional South American country of Costaguana in the 1980s to reopen his father's mine closed after his father was murdered. As corruption and insurrection spreads, Gould angles to keep his mine open through dubious political alIiances. And he grows ever more distant from his loving wife, Emilia (Serena Scott Thomas of "Nash Bridges'').

Albert Finney also stars as alcoholic English expatriate Dr. Monygham, who sacrifices himself in unexpected ways. Brian Dennehy plays greedy American tvcoon Joshua Holroyd. Steamy Italian film star Claudio Amendola takes the title role of Nostromo, the trustworthy chief'of dockworkers whose name means "our man". Yet Nostromo also falls under the silver's spell in this allegorical tale.of loyalty and honor - and whose man he is becomes unclear.
"Yet it is very clear what happens to Charles Gould in  'Nostromo' -  he becomes a man who loses.his soul," Firth explains. "Still, Conrad never allows his characters to be simple. Gould wants the silver to civilize what is regarded as an uncivilized country. He wants all those turn-of-the-century ideals - beauty, order, truth - to come from the silver. He sticks with that even when it's quite clear that he's turning into a monster.

"And Conrad likes to keep his characters paradoxical. When Gould needs guns, the French, intellectual Martin Decoud (Lothaire Bluteau) comes over as a courier, all for the love of a woman who's living in Costaguana. He stays because of her, even though he hates it there. And he actually dies for her in a way, although Conrad questions Decoud's vanity, his self-absorption. Conrad doesn't romanticize it, yet Decoud does die for love."

KILLER EPIC
Even  the making of "Nostromo" proved a paradox befitting Conrad. The sweeping yet cerebral miniseries is a multinational jigsaw puzzle, a co-production of WGBH m.Boston, Brit-ain's BBC, RAI Italy and TVE Spain.

Shot entirely in Cartegena de Indias, Colombia, "Nostromo" involved steamships, trains, explosions, skittish horses, 15,000 extras, 2,000 costumes, and a made-to-be-filmed harbor and jetty, all in the hands of English director Alastair Reid ("Tales of the City," "Traffik"), Italian
producer Fernando Ghia ("The Mission") and a multilingual cast and crew.

Like earlier PBS effort "Middlemarch", "Nostromo" is the kind of classic period drama that has reinvigorated the BBC. Like "Moses" and other made-for-cable movies on TNT, it is the kind of U.S.-Italian-Spanish co-production  that; makes large-scale drama affordable.

Yet for Firth and his fellow actors, "Nostromo" also was a dangerous kind of chaos. "You'd 'be sitting  on a horse 'that wasn't really trained in front of 50 to 100 other horses and carriages on a dirt street in a shantytown with the camera miles away and a huge crowd and a language barrier and explosives going off. They gave me a quite uncontrollable horse the first day, a mustang or something and I was thrown for the first time in my life - and I pride myself on being quite good.

"And there's a scene where I'm being garroted - do you know what garroting is?" You wrap your hands around your neck and start to strangle to show you do. Firth nods and murmurs "um" appreciatively
as he does after every question, savoring the thought.
"Um, yes. There's a metal collar to strangle me around my neck and someone yelled an instruction which I didn't understand. My hands are tied behind my back and I don't speak Spanish to tell them I'm REALLY being strangled and to stop. And yet we finished on schedule and it looks great."
And Firth lived to tell the tale of emotionally constricted  Gould, who remains closed-hearted to the end. 
"In playing Gould I drew on that blankness, that inexpressiveness. I think it's essential to the man. And actually I was given a lot more to say than Gould has in Conrad's book - actually I'm skeptical of anyone who says they've read the novel, it's a tough read. Conrad has no sense of humour, but our production does a little. I even got to smile. You see, we're not making the book. As much as anything, we're digging the adventure story out of the book."

CULTURE CLASHES
So did "Nostromo's" stew of international acting styles - English, American, French, Italian, Colombian - mesh or clash on set?
"I had a Method training in an English drama school and I have a lot of respect for it. There is something to be said for getting the character inside here, inside you, first. Often English actors are just expected to be good troopers, no matter how much noise is going on, like it doesn't matter if we have no rehearsal, like it doesn't matter how many people are walking through or if the performance stinks - let's just get on with it, let's impress the crew.
"And there are some American actors who just want to hit their mark and get it done. 
"Really, I think people love to try to create an image of culture difference but I've never felt at loggerheads."
[..........................................................]
But back to Conrad, where it is the women who remain pure, as  mounds of shining silver taint Gould, tarnish close-to-sanity Nostromo and corrupt lesser men.
"I think Conrad idealized women. He treats them with a certain distance and respect. Only Emilia (Scott Thomas) truly maintains her humanity. She's terrified of the way her husband is going. Partly because of Serena's performance I think we bring Emilia to the fore a little bit more."
Still, at the close of "Nostromo" imaginary Costaguana remains morally and ethically troubled, as tragedy strikes several families and several pairs of lovers, with questionable justice done.
"You know one of the gretaest artifices that exists in drama is the giving of answers to things, answers that don't exist, solutions that aren't in people's minds. But that's disingenuous. Yes, a lot of questions at the start of 'Nostromo' are even bigger at the end. But I think that's appropriate. That is just the kind of drama I believe in."


Telegraph Magazine (U.K.), 11 January 1997
Firth Fever - - Costume drama's Mr Cool
Interview by Sue Summers
[...]

His relationship with Livia Giuggioli. a ravishing 22-year-old in her final year at Rome University, began during the six months he spent in Colombia, with co-stars Albert Finney, Claudia Cardinale and Serena Scott-Thomas, filming Nostromo. She was working as assistant to the producer, Fernando Ghia, and is remembered as 'a lovely girl and extremely bright' by executive producer, Michael Wearing. 'Their relationship flowered slowly and it was delightful to see.'

Firth certainly needed cheering up in Colombia: 'First of all, there was 100 per cent humidity, which meant your shirt was soaked within minutes, and I was wearing a suit, waistcoat and stiff collar as well. Then there were language problems to contend with, plus very greedy and corrupt authorities. Also, we were filming in terribly poverty-stricken areas, where we would be given food and children would hang around waiting for what we put in the bin. It was very difficult and exhausting,
and a little bit threatening.'
Firth plays Englishman Charles Gould who arrives in a corrupt South American dictatorship with his beautiful young bride (Scott-Thomas), determined to work the silver mine left to him by his murdered father. Despite his initial passion for his wife, Gould proves willing to sacrifice everything, even his marriage, to his obsession over the mine. 'He becomes more and more closed as the story progresses,' Firth says. 'It's the reverse of Mr Darcy's process, really.'

For someone who describes himself as a method actor, he is refreshingly down-to-earth in talking about his craft. 'I do an awful
lot of work on what's going on inside the character,' he says. 'There's tremendous amount to suggest beyond words. The unhealthy nature of Charles Gould's obsession is very difficult to understand. The book is virtually unreadable: I only managed to finish it through sheer stubbornness and Conrad certainly doesn't define his characters in a way that's easy for us to comprehend.'
[...]


The Times (U.K.), 12 January 1997
"An epic fight for survival"
by Nicholas Hellen
[......]

The Goulds are played by Colin Firth and Serena Scott Thomas, with Albert Finney appearing as the disillusioned, alcoholic Dr Monygham. As Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Firth made millions swoon. But the role of Gould calls for an unattractive beard and the silver mine as his only true passion, if also the setting for a loveless coupling with his wife. The only romance involving Firth took place off-screen. During filming he split with Jennifer Ehle, his co-star in Pride and Prejudice, and fell in love with Livia Giuggioli, an Italian production assistant.
[....]

The heat and humidity were overpowering. A video diary kept by Reid shows Firth struggling into his period costume, saying: "You have to have a masochistic delight in sweating and suffering. The Brits love this stuff more than anybody. It is the Italians and the Spanish who complain about it."
[.....]

Nostromo not only looks good, the story is well paced and the performances much stronger. Finney is particularly fine, and, while Firth seems muted as a man in the grip of an obsession, Scott Thomas makes much of what could have been a slight role.
[........]

Read more at meluchie's "Friends of Firth Scrap Book"
 


Independent on Sunday (UK), 19 January 1997
"A Man of Many Parts"
by Jasper Rees

[...] He was in Italy when his mum phoned him with the news that Darcy fever was sweeping the nation, hoiking him up the league table in leading males. The glad tidings must have been a comfort after the BBC's Nostromo shoot in Columbia: beset by corruption, riot, a nearby murder, shooting, illness and miscellaneous gremlinry, it was as if the ructions in Conrad's masterpiece had seeped out onto the set. Firth found the location "very interesting for the first couple of months ", but after three more didn't come away "with a huge fondness for the place". 

He plays Charles Gould, an Englishman who takes his porcelain bride to a fictional South American republic called Costaguana, to re-open a silver mine which has fallen into neglect since his father's murder by the natives. Gradually as Gould's obsession with the plainly symbolic mine and its buried treasures intensifies, the marriage falls victim to his metaphorical infidelity.

The novel is famously irreducible - "I was almost resentful of how difficult it was to get through it." he says - but for Firth the lead role basically came down to another study in humourlessness and withdrawal, another furtively disturbed Englishman. So why play it? 
"It was curiosity. I felt that there was an awful lot more to Gould than met the eye. I found myself in the strange position of doubting what Conrad said about him - that the character had no sense of irony - and I wondered whether that was a foreigner's perception of an Englishman. It would be quite possible for a man like Gould to have a very strong sense of irony and for it to be invisible to somebody from Poland." 

On a less cerebral level, he was attracted by the horse-riding, the explosions and the steamship - "a boy's own instinct to go out on the big adventure, a childhood sense of why I wanted to be an actor.  [...]

Full article at meluchie's "Friends of Firth Scrap Book"
 


 
SHE (UK magazine) February 1997

Television: NOSTROMO

"Any drama featuring the delectable Colin Firth is worth tuning into. Based on Joseph Conrad's classic novel of ideals, ambition and corruption, this four-part drama also stars hunky Italian film star Claudio Amendola in the title role, Albert Finney, Serena Scott Thomas and Claudia Cardinale. (BBC2, early Feb.)
 


What's On TV (U.K.), 1-7 February 1997
Firth on fire  
The heat is on Colin Firth in the BBC's latest costume drama
by Richard McClure

The last time Colin Firth starred in a costume drama, millions of women swooned at his dashing Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Whether fans will find him quite as charming in BBC2's epic new adventure, Nostromo, however, is another matter.

The four-part series, beginning this week, was filmed in the sweltering heat of Colombia in South America. 'Being there was an extraordinary experience,' says Colin, who had an assistant to supply him with water to prevent dehydration. 'When you are away from home in such a place, the heat and tropical sensibilities add to the weird and wonderful mix.'

Based on the 1904 novel by author Joseph Conrad, Nostromo is set in the fictional country of Costaguana at the turn of the century. Colin plays Charles Gould, the owner of a silver mine, who is set to make a fortune from his valuable hoard.
'I liked the challenge of getting to the heart of Charles,' explains 36-year-old Colin. 'He isn't very expressive but you know there are a million complex emotions bubbling under the surface. I enjoy twisted characters. Playing heroes isn't my strong point.'

When revolution erupts and both sides seek to obtain the silver for themselves, Charles is forced to seek help from Nostromo, a daring dock worker. But though Nostromo puts to sea with the precious metal to stop it falling into their hands, he is unaware that the silver has a curse which will change his life for ever. 
At times, it seemed that the silver's curse afflicted the film crew as well. The five months spent on location were fraught with difficulties. Expensive sets  were washed away by rainstorms, the director collapsed through exhaustion and co-star Serena Scott Thomas, who plays Charles's wife Emilia, suffered nausea after being attacked by bugs.
But despite the many mishaps, Colin is convinced the venture will prove riveting viewing. 'I love all that stuff with huge battle scenes and lots of guns,' he laughs. 'I got swept away by the chivalry and high adventure.'


Radio Times (UK), 1-7 February 1997
Steamy Stuff in Colombia

[...]
Principal shooting took place in Colombia in 1995, as Colin Firth, Albert Finney, Serena Scott Thomas and Claudio Amendola performed in 95 per cent humidity. "The whole experience had so many parallels to the novel," says [Italian production executive Fernando] Ghia, who overcame labour disputes, accidents and unruly extras in the course of the production. "I owe so much to the stoicism of the British actors. While the Italians and Spaniards would storm off the set complaining that they couldn't work in the heat, Colin Firth and Albert Finney would just sit there sweating it out. Thank goodness for that stiff upper lip."
 


Radio Times (UK) 8-14 February 1997
"Pride and Prejudice wasn't my cup of tea"
By Andrew Billen

[...]
But the memories [ of Darcy] will draw viewers to his latest role in a more demanding and unusually brave TV event - a four-part adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Nostromo with an international cast including Albert Finney (in yet another brilliant impression of a drunk) and Claudia Cardinale. It is an ambitious opus, filmed during five months on location in Colombia, which defeated several would-be adaptors in the past. "It's easy to understand why," says Firth. "The thought [has] never been far from my mind that we'll be the ones prove them correct. Its not light material; an Everest for me to read because there's a heaviness to
the writing and no accessible sense of humour, but worth it because I was haunted by the book afterwards and still am."

He plays Charles Gould, a young Englishman who arrives in mythical, turbulent South American country of Costaguana wit his beautiful bride (Serena Scott Thomas) to reopen a silver mill discovered by his deceased father, Ernest. In the book Ernest dies through the exhaustion of coping with corruption. In the TV version he is assassinated during a revolution. "We simplify, in order to make a drama," he explains. "He implored Charles never to come to Costaguana, but he had to prove he was strong where his father was weak. That is a common motivation for sons, but I didn't understand Charles at first. He doesn't have the
normal, identifiable vulgar motives which drive an industrialist - glory, wealth and power.

"I tried to discover what it is in me that identifies with him. I've been obsessed enough with work to throw myself headlong into it at the expense of anything else, but I came to the conclusion he had a rather warped romantic dream, quite contrary to his wife's belief that he was rigorously practical and unsentimental. I had doubts about the part, but took it because I wanted to find out more about him. It was a huge curiosity. I knew going to Colombia for so long would be a life-changing experience, and it certainly was. [...]"

Charles Gould is one of three new parts that illustrate his versatility.
[...]

Full article at meluchie's "Friends of Firth Scrap Book"
 



A request to our readers: we are looking for the text of the article
            Los Angeles Times (U.S.), 5-11 January 1997 -
            "An Epic For The People: A revolution Is Coming to PBS: Joseph Conrad's 'Nostromo'"
If you have a copy, it would be great if you would let us have it.

threedeers@yahoo.com
www.afirthionado.com
last update: oct 20, 2002
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