Colin Firth thinks Mr. Darcy is ‘utterly dislikeable, unsympathetic & snobbish’


Here are some photos of lovely Colin Firth and his lovely wife Livia at the Venice Film Festival. Colin and Livia came out to support their friend Tom Ford at the premiere of Nocturnal Animals, then they attended the premiere of Franca: Chaos and Creation the same night. Livia started her red-carpet “Eco Challenge” years ago, and she’s still doing it here. She challenges celebrities to wear clothes made from sustainable materials, or to rewear older clothes that have been reworked by designers. At Venice this year, Livia wore a Jonathan Saunders gown from 2012 which was made from organic silk georgette and printed with natural dye. She also noted on her Instagram that Colin was re-wearing his Tom Ford tuxedo for the 30th time!

While in Venice, Colin chatted with media outlets, and because he’s Colin Firth, of course he had to answer questions about Mr. Darcy. I mean, he’s promoting Bridget Jones’s Baby, so of course he’s going to be talking about Mark Darcy, but Colin will still get questions about Pride & Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy for the rest of his life. And Colin still doesn’t understand why women have such affection for that character. He said:

“Women being attracted to him took me by surprise. I thought it would be quite fun and liberating to play someone who was completely and utterly dislikeable, unsympathetic, judgemental and snobbish. I didn’t have to think about bringing charm to the role – the way I saw it, I just had to stand there and make everyone hate me … then this weird thing happened where people liked him, which wasn’t what I was expecting at all! We’re 20 years on and I still don’t understand it.”

[From The Daily Mirror]

I think he’s being too cute by half there – Mr. Darcy is widely considered one of the greatest romantic heroes of English literature, and Firth knows that. Of course women are still obsessed with Mr. Darcy, because most of it has to do with the character, not so much his portrayal (although he was a great Darcy). Women love Darcy because of the dream of transformative love, that his love of a poor Lizzie Bennett can make him less cruel, less selfish and more of a gentleman. It’s that Mr. Darcy is still flawed but works to improve himself in the eyes of the woman he loves. And it’s the fantasy of the sullen bastard who secretly has the heart of gold, a la Rochester in Jane Eyre.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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72 Responses to “Colin Firth thinks Mr. Darcy is ‘utterly dislikeable, unsympathetic & snobbish’”

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  1. lilacflowers says:

    Ah, Colin.

    Don’t like Livia’s dress but I applaud her efforts and I love that bag she is carrying.

  2. artnoosa says:

    I want one like him. 🙁 & Livia’s dress needs belt.

  3. Birdix says:

    I wonder what Mr. Darcy would think of Colin Firth?
    Confession: when I was young and silly, I dated a guy who caught my eye in part because his last name was Darcy.

  4. dandan38 says:

    “dislikable” okay…

  5. Kate says:

    I love livia’s dress. She looks beautiful.

  6. Naya says:

    I dont get the Darcy, Rochester obsession either. Richard Gere said something similar about his character in Pretty Woman. When in the story, the “wonderfullness” of the heroine starts to “transform” them, I’m always left screaming “girl, you know its an act to get you where he wants you, right?” You just know these women spend the rest of fictional eternity trapped with passive aggressive grouches. The worlds favorite fictional heroines are in abusive marriages, just saying.

    • H says:

      I reread Jane Eyre every year. I admit I love Mr. Rochester, but would I date him in RL? No, he’s my book boyfriend. However, Timothy Dalton is the best Rochester IMO, Fassy is second. Never was a fan of Mr. Darcy, so have to agree with Colin on not understanding his appeal.

      • grabbyhands says:

        Same, except that I thought Timothy Dalton was too pretty to be Rochester. Toby Stephens for the win for me. 🙂 Also, if you love Jane Eyre, you should read the Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde-so awesome.

        **I still heart Mr Darcy.

      • H says:


        Thanks for the book rec.

        George C. Scott is also a good Rochester, but even though Dalton is pretty, he and the actress who played Jane had great chemistry. Which is why I love that mini series.

      • Poisonous Lookalike says:

        Wow, I do too! But I read it mostly for Jane—the book was my introduction to feminism (my first reading was waaaaay back in the early ’70s). I’m not a fan of Rochester throughout most of the book.

        @grabbyhands, I agree completely that TD was far too pretty—and too fair-skinned—to be a convincing Rochester. His beautiful blue eyes are the antithesis of Rochester’s, too.

        I do ♥ Mr. Darcy. He always seemed to me to be shy/awkward and therefore projected an air of snobbery.

      • Anthi says:

        @H Timothy Dalton ha? I might need to see this…
        @GRABBYHANDS Toby Stephens yes +10000 🙂

    • tessaross says:

      But Darcy in the novel other than being sort of snobbish, is actually a good person right from the start, just socially awkward as hell and too proud to explain himself…. being around Lizzie helps him with that, but it’s not like he becomes a different person.

      Rochester on the other hand, total bad boy archetipe.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        Yeah, that’s what I though. Darcy was never a bad person, just socially awkward, or a man of his times really. I actually prefer Macfadyen’s performance because it brought the awkward aspect out more.

      • Algernon says:

        Totally agree re: Macfadyen’s Darcy. I love that he seemed more like an awkward dork than a snob.

      • Diana B says:

        Macfadyen’s for the win. I thought he was a perfect Darcy. It was all a problem of perception, he was too socially inept and lacked charm; that is not a crime and it does not make him a bad person.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Agree tessaross. As proud and haughty as Darcy was he was still a good and honorable, man. And certainly not too proud to admit his faults in the end.

      • holly hobby says:

        Oh yes Mr. Darcy comes across as socially awkward but he’s a stand up guy. Loyal and honorable. What is that not to like in real life?

      • mee says:

        yes! the appeal is that darcy is a seemingly snobbish guy who actually is just socially awkward. a truly decent guy underneath it all who may have some flaws but is willing to recognize them and grow into a better person as a result of his love for elizabeth.

    • Anastasiia says:

      Well it quite a long time ago when I saw Pretty woman and I don’t remember all the details but somehow I remember how much I disliked Gere’s character. It was something so disgusting and unattractive, shallow and generic about him… Hard to explain why that character has left such aftertaste.
      On the other hand, Mr. Darcy is legendary dream love because of unknown depth of character. Like You never know the depth of the sea before you jump in it. He is unsympathetic, unfriendly and yes, snobbish. But as this usually happens, we all have two sides. And his other side is just a perfection, which couldn’t be so amazing without his imperfections.
      Definitely those two character s can’t be compared, there are to different.

      • Deedee says:

        I found the whole premise of Pretty Woman revolting. The whole “prostitute with the heart of gold” storyline is for another century.

      • FingerBinger says:

        @Deedee Considering it a romantic film is revolting. Everybody forgets she was a prostitute.

      • K2 says:

        I realised Gere was a complete tool because of that movie – a few years ago he was saying he had mixed feelings about it because it was so ethically problematic, and I was thinking approvingly that it’s always nice when a guy in that position recognises misogyny and patriarchy – and then he started pontificating on about how he now understands how toxic the financial industry is. So basically, this man had made a movie in which he buys a street prostitute’s body like it’s a commodity, and they pretty that up into a cutesy romcom, and his ethical issue, decades later, is that the male lead has a job description he doesn’t think is moral.

    • Chaucer says:

      Ding ding ding. Mr. Darcy is a douchebag and if he were a real person everyone would be telling Elizabeth to dump him. Of course I detest Jane Austen’s work and find it neither witty nor special.

    • Abby says:

      Yep, IRL I would not date Rochester. Never. Darcy is definitely a jerk at first and he’s not my type either. Granted, the situation at the town dance was awkward and ridiculous, but he behaved unkindly.

      However, the thing about Pride &; Prejudice is underneath Darcy’s class prejudice, he’s kind to staff, he’s a loyal to his friends, he’s protective of his family and he has a strong sense of right and wrong. I’ve always related to Lizzie a bit because my family is off its rocker–anyone dating me had to deal with my mentally ill dad and my overprotective mom and my beyond awkward brothers. I always loved that Darcy saw past all of that and still fell in love with Lizzie. And he did things to help her family because of it. That’s why I love Pride & Prejudice.

    • perplexed says:

      I think a fair amount of people dislike Rochester, and by extension, Jane when reading Jane Eyre in English class so in that sense I can understand his feelings about Darcy (although I think Rochester is way worse).

    • India Andrews says:


      I’ve never understood the obsession of someone with the Phantom from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical either. He is a manipulative, murderous psychopath in the play. Christine should have run for the hills stat.

      • The Recluse says:

        I am forever amazed that he was turned into a romantic figure in that musical: I read the original novel. The silent movie version was closer to correct.

    • Rayya kirt says:

      It’s the eternal proof that a man actually can change. Most of us have wanted to break the Ice in a dude and find gold only we were able to get to. Thing is, I have a theory…no one ever really changes at their core (excluding intense spiritual growth or trauma to some degree); they are either changing to suit some selfish need and it’s temporary or they were never really a bastard to begin with.

  7. kibbles says:

    His is the best portrayal of Darcy by far in television/movie history. That is why people still talk about Mr. Darcy twenty years after his version was released and why Bridget Jones has been so successful. The only other actor in recent memory to have nailed the portrayal of a historical fictional character to as much fanfare as Firth’s Darcy is Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark. I’m sure Turner will also be asked about Poldark for the rest of his life regardless of what he moves onto in the future. These are characters that made these men household names and heartthrobs to millions of women around the world. Of course they will be asked about a titular role that made them famous.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      I liked Macfadyen better. And I did read the book.

      • Abby says:

        Me too. And I’ve read the book a million times. I love Firth, but I love the Kiera/Macfayden version better. The cinematography and soundtrack was better and I loved their chemistry. It had all the best of the book, but not the length of the movie.

      • lisa2 says:

        Oh I love Macfayden so much as Rochester. Just so perfect to me. When he finally tells her how he feels and lets his emotions come to surface.. I want to cry.

    • Zuzus Girl says:

      Agree Kibble. I loved that version of P and P. I absolutely loathed the Keira Knightly/Matthew Macfadyen version. She was miscast and they cut so much out of the book that the story didn’t make any sense.

      Bridgette Jones Baby is a hot mess. Who on earth thought 40/50 somethings having unprotected sex with multiple partners and not knowing who the daddy is was a good idea. It’s gross in this day and age and I loved the first movie.

      • Algernon says:

        My mom loves Bridget Jones and she was so upset when she realized that was the plot. For her, it was less the specifics of the sex, and more that, in general, it means Bridget hasn’t grown up/learned anything. She said, “Why would I want to go see Bridget be the same airhead she was ten years ago?”

      • holly hobby says:

        Well it’s either the “who’s the daddy” storyline, which is tripe, or Darcy is dead one (the book). You know what will sell tickets. It’s certainly not the latter.

    • gnerd says:

      I don’t think it’s his performance as much as the total, completely hot chemistry between him and Jennifer Ehle. His performance hinged on the looks he gave her, etc. I believed in his attraction to her. I’m not sure he did that great of a job with the rest of it.

  8. minx says:

    Love, love him.

  9. Cora says:

    Still love the BBC version with him in it, but now everytime I look at him, I just see Yellowface in a Woody Allen film. NAGL

  10. EscapedConvent says:

    I realize this thread is not about Mr. Rochester, but TOBY STEPHENS IS THE BEST ROCHESTER!!!

    Please forgive my shouting. 😶

  11. Patricia says:

    Kaiser I love your description of why women love Mr Darcy. So well said and true!

  12. Ashley says:

    Darcy isn’t a douche he just gives off the appearance as one. His personality type intj which is the same as mine often come off as such. Mainly this is due to a mixture of blunt honesty mixed with social ineptness. I have the same issues and totally relate to his character. So things like small talk are very difficult for us or attempting to express how we feel. Personally I think the 2005 version is the best version because McFaydens performance cathes all the nuances of the type.

  13. DSA says:

    I think Mr. Darcy is hot and attractive. Many fictional characters are.

    But men like him don’t exist IRL. If they’re jerks when you first met them, they’ll stay that way when you’ve grown enough self-esteem to believe you deserve better and you’ve had enough. Men just don’t learn.

    • Algernon says:

      What I love about P&P is that Darcy doesn’t change, it’s just time and circumstances that give Lizzie the proper context to understand him. Neither of them changes for the other, it’s only when they begin to be honest with one another that they see how well they’re suited, as is.

      • Ashley says:

        Truth! Darcy is still the same. Honestly to me the story is about first impressions and how your perception of someone changes once you get to know them. Elizabeth misjudged Darcy and vice versa.

      • Poisonous Lookalike says:

        Yes! It’s right there in the title, fercryinoutloud.

    • Anastasiia says:

      My husband is Darcy. That amazes me every day.

  14. tracking says:

    Beautiful couple and a class act, so refreshing.

  15. CornyBlue says:

    Oh yes finally someone who agrees with me about just how unlikable Mr. Darcy is. I feel like the entire world is joking with me that women want to be with someone like Mr. Darcy.

    • Algernon says:

      Yeah, who wants to be with someone steadfast and who cares about his family and the well being of his friends and who will move heaven and earth to help you in a difficult situation, and whose greatest flaw is being a bit uncomfortable in social situations? Sounds like a terrible kind of person.

  16. gnerd says:

    People misunderstand Darcy’s character. It has nothing to do with transformative love. Its that he’s socially awkward and not demonstrative.

    He is guarded and reserved, and mindful of his position in society. He is snobbish and judgemental, which Elizabeth helps him to realize but he specifically says in his letter that he was not raised that way and allowed himself to indulge in his character flaws in that regard.

    The whole point of Mr. Darcy is that he was a kind hearted, decent and kind person all along but that Elizabeth misunderstood him because of his awkwardness and lack of warmth with people he is not comfortable with.

    Elizabeth didn’t change him. She made him realize he’d been acting poorly but she didn’t transform him into a new person.

    • I Choose Me says:

      So nice to be among my people who understand Mr. Darcy’s character and why he appeals (to some of us)

      • Locke Lamora says:

        But isn’t it strange how a man who played him so well didn’t understand him?

      • lisa2 says:

        I wonder i f nay of them actually read the book. But it is written by a woman. And her perception. So maybe men see themselves in different terms.

  17. Dorothy#1 says:

    Colin is the the perfect Darcy!! Omg i love him sooo much. ❤❤❤

    • Zimmerman says:

      I have to say I do love Firth’s portrayal. Don’t know if another actor could have made me like Darcy so much. Guess I’m in the minority.

  18. LolaBones says:

    I enjoyed The Lizzie Bennet Diaries cause it helped me realized that Lizzie has a terrible judge of character, Darcy was never as bad as he was portrayed, just awkward.

    Plus, that Darcy was really yum.

  19. Snarkweek says:

    Darcy is so much more likeable than Lizzie. Can’t tolerate her. But I still think I would rather marry Rochester. With Rochester you already see what he is at his best and worse and you can also be sure that he is with you for you and not because of society or what type of woman society thinks a wealthy mam should marry. I don’t believe wild horses could have gotten Darcy to marry a governess, and an unattractive one.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Except he didn’t think Lizzie all that attractive, not at first. It’s after spending time in her company and becoming attracted to her personality that her physical attributes became more appealing to him. Which is generally what happens when you start to fall in love. Notice she’s never even described as beautiful by him just that she has fine eyes. And Lizzie may not have been a governess and the Bennets were not dirt poor but he did marry ‘below his station’ because he loved her so I’m not sure how you arrived at your conclusion.

      • Snarkweek says:

        Lizzie was not a beauty but Jane was explicitly unattractive. Darcy may have understood Lizzie and her family were beneath his station but beneath is still relative. They were not socially unacceptable and they had enough standing to move in the right circles and have the right acquaintances.Jane was a dirt poor orphan and only slightly above the station of a servant because she had an education and was employable. The difference between Jane and Lizzie in Regency England is worlds apart.Darcy was very much aware of his role in society and his obligations to it and I think that would have precluded any romantic involvement with someone like Jane. Rochester was certainly less inclined to care what society thought which made him more likely to follow his heart. I prefer Rochester’s raw realness to Darcy’s conventionality. Just my opinion and preference.

  20. mkyarwood says:

    If we’d had a boy, his name surely would have been Darcy.

  21. SwanLake says:

    I guess I’m in the minority. I like Colin Firth as an actor, but didn’t like him as Darcy. I much preferred Matthew Macfadyen in the role because he seemed to convey more of Darcy’s awkwardness. I also hated Bridget Jones’s Diary. That devalued Colin Firth’s abilities in my eyes.

  22. The Recluse says:

    This is what I dig about this website: it’s loaded with literate types who love their classic books. And they know their English actors. Rufus Sewell et al.

  23. Jude says:

    Ahhhhh! I thought that quote was about Mark Darcy not Mr Darcy. How could you think we could hate Mark Darcy or you as Mark Darcy???? And then Kaiser’s comment – it’s not him, it’s the character – had me like … you are not serious.

    Aaaaaand then it clicked.