Colin Firth, who wooed thousands as the dashing Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, is back in period costume as the charismatic Master in Henry James' famous ghost story.
"The characterization of the Master is very much a creation of this adaptation. In the book he is a presence by implication. But the young governess is so motivated by her feelings for him that we have tried to establish that relationship in this adaptation," explains Firth.
"It is one of the most argued over books of this century. Are the ghosts real, or is the governess psychotic? The Master manipulates this girl and tries to make use of what he perceives as his power to exploit her vulnerability."
Firth says he certainly found the Henry James story irresistible.
"I love The Turn of the Screw. I love the mystery of it. When ghost stories are told well, they are brilliant. But they are incredibly rare. It is a perpetually misjudged form of story telling. The Turn of the Screw is one of the models of ghost story telling. It is a gripping portrait of a person's psychology. The overwhelming majority of people who attempt such stories fall into the trap of wanting to explain everything. The golden rule of ghost stories is 'don't reveal all.' And that is the beauty of this Henry James story."
"I like the mood of a ghost story. It is perfect for a wintry night, sitting by the fire, watching a ghost story which gives you a chill and provokes the imagination."
The son of two university lecturers, Firth spent the first four years of his life in Nigeria, before the family moved to England. He has a younger brother and sister, Jonathan and Kate, who are also actors. Inspired by his grandmother's performances in amateur theatre, Firth decided as a teenager to become an actor. He trained at the London Drama Centre. When he left he was cast as Tommy Judd, in the stage and screen versions of Another Country.
Firth quickly earned a reputation for versatility and has played a wide range of roles including a Falklands veteran in Tumbledown, John McCarthy in Hostages, an Arsenal supporter in Fever Pitch, Lord Wessex in Shakespeare in Love, and the cuckolded officer in The English Patient.
Firth has four feature films due for release in 2000. He plays the title role in Donovan Quick. His other films are My Life So Far, Londinium, and Relative Values.
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