|Starweek magazine supplement published by The Toronto Star (Canada),
"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
|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
[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
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,
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
"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."
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
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
|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,
For someone who describes himself as a method actor, he is refreshingly
down-to-earth in talking about his craft. 'I do an awful
|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
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
|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?
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
|SHE (UK magazine) February 1997
"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.
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.
|Radio Times (UK), 1-7 February 1997
Steamy Stuff in Colombia
|Radio Times (UK) 8-14 February 1997
"Pride and Prejudice wasn't my cup of tea"
By Andrew Billen
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
"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