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    Brit actor Colin Firth turns gun-toting spy in a bulletproof suit, in Kingsman Secret Service

    FOR actor Colin Firth, shrugging off the much-loved image of Mr Darcy (immortalised by the wet shirt scene  in Pride and Prejudice) proved hard, with successful outings in films like The English Patient and Bridget Jone’s Diary continuing to project him as an upper crust romantic. However, he did garner acclaim with roles like the depressed gay professor in A Single Man (for which he won a BAFTA), a suitor in the musical Mamma Mia! and the stammering king in The King’s Speech (an Oscar-winning performance). Now, promising to break the mould for good, the 54-year-old British actor will be seen in an action role, in his much-awaited movie, Kingsman Secret Service. In the film, Firth will play Harry Hart, a crack operative with a secret independent intelligence organisation and, as he calls himself, ‘a cold steel killer.” Like other charming British spies of celluloid, Hart will be impeccably attired—in this case, the finest Savile Row suits, bullet proof at that. Based on the comic book by the same name, and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, X-Men First Class), the spy film also sees Sir Michael Caine and Samuel Jackson. More from the actor:

    When Vaughn first met you, he warned you about the role being tough. Is that true?
    Yes. He said, ‘It’s going to hurt and you’ll hate me by the end.’ There were plenty of occasions when, after a particularly gruelling day, nursing cuts and bruises, I questioned why I had taken on an action role in a spy movie, but the rewards were enormous.

    You embarked on months of intensive training for the role.
    I enlisted the help of my regular trainer, Ed Chow, and handpicked specialists led by stunt coordinator Bradley Allen. Three hours a day, every day with this team of guys. There were things with the lower body, squats and lunges and painful things, that you really had to get moving in order to make this thing viable.

    You also had an intensive period of weapons training.
    Hart is an expert in hand-to-hand combat, but he’s also equipped with guns and all the latest gadgets that a 21st century spy should have—including an umbrella that acts as a shield and fires bullets, and a cigarette lighter that is a grenade. And, of course, his beautifully tailored suit is made of a very special bulletproof material. There was an ex-Special Forces guy telling me how to hold a gun and shoot. Then I had the firearms guys, who told me how to fight multiple opponents. It was as much of a dance as it was a fight thing.

    It’s inevitable that a few injuries are picked up along the way. Isn’t it?
    The team included Pilates expert David Higgins who was on hand for emergency repairs. Bruises were a bit of a badge of honour, actually. I remember there was a huge bruise that covered my entire left arm, and the stunt guys said, ‘Yes!’ and rushed in with cameras. The cameras got there before the medics did, because they wanted proof that I was doing it.

    Kingsman Secret Service is scheduled to release on February 27.

    Team Indulge

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