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Colin Firth

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British good guy Colin Firth returns as Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s sensible but sweet love interest. But in The Edge of Reason he’s not beneath throwing a few punches: Firth, 44, recently talked about his onscreen tussle with Hugh Grant and his admiration for Renee Zellweger.

How did you get the fight scene with Hugh Grant to look so real?
I’m ashamed to say, the reason it looked real is because we were two normal fellows who don’t know how to fight. You know, my experience of violent confrontation dates back to the playground age, about 6 or 7 years old, and so that’s what I drew from.

So who do you think would’ve won in real life?
I’d say I would, judging by Hugh Grant’s apparent (lack) of physical strength while we were engaged in the fight, and the number of times he asked for the nurse.

How was it working with Renee Zellweger?
She was actually ridiculously generous. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it, I’ve never seen punctuality like it, I’ve never seen devotion to off-camera performance. Which is essential … it makes you raise your game. If she was crying in a scene on-camera, she’d do it again off-camera. She would do it for the cut away.

What was different about playing Mark Darcy a second time?
You see something of the bliss of their relationship, which is, I think, one of the hardest things you can seek to portray in any sort of drama or comedy. You see the irritations, and you see the patterns repeat themselves, you see the things that annoyed them about each other when they first met actually come to haunt them.

Any reluctance in portraying him again?
I don’t think (any of the cast) recalls ever having said yes to this job. It was just something that, you know, there’s a momentum that happened, and it seemed inevitable. It was not unlike getting the draft papers, really. (Laughs)

Do you share any characteristics with Darcy? Like the way he folds his underwear?
I can assure you, I have never folded a pair of underpants in my life.