By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist April 29, 2013 at 7:16AM
As an actor, Colin Firth has proved remarkably resilient over his thirty-year career. After breaking through in 1984's "Another Country," a series of strong performances followed that never quite saw him become a huge star. But suddenly, 1995's TV version of "Pride & Prejudice" made him a heartthrob, and led to roles in Oscar-winners "The English Patient" and "Shakespeare In Love." Just as the roles started to dry up again, he played another seminal romantic lead in "Bridget Jones' Diary." And then, as his career seemed to creep into self-parody with the likes of "Mamma Mia" and "St. Trinian's," he got back-to-back Oscar nominations for "A Single Man" and "The King's Speech," winning for the latter.
And it looks like another reinvention for Mr. Firth might be on the way. Aside from "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," his immediate post-Oscar roles, in "Gambit" and "Arthur Newman," have been disappointing, but he's back in awards-y territory later this year with Atom Egoyan's "Devil's Knot" and biopic "The Railway Man," and is now set to go into uncharted territory with his first leading role in an action tentpole, as Latino Review were the first to reveal that Firth will take the lead role in Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of Mark Millar's comic book "The Secret Service."
The plot for the comic by the "Wanted" and "Kick-Ass" creator involves a veteran James Bond-style spy, 'Uncle Jack' -- the role that Firth will take -- whose latest mission is complicated when he has to train up his hoodie nephew Gary in the ways of MI6. Vaughn bailed on his "X-Men" sequel to make this project (scripted again with his "Kick-Ass" and "Stardust" co-writer Jane Goldman), and though the studio isn't commenting, it seems like Firth's casting is set in stone, as he confirmed in an interview with Roger's Movie Nation last week, saying it's "too early to talk about now, but it'll be unlike anything I've done."
Even if the film drops Millar's usual decapitations and f-bombs for a PG-13 rating, Firth's not wrong, and it should be a lot of fun to see the actor channel his inner 007 and kick some arse, especially if he's cast against someone equally interesting (memo to Vaughn: cast immensely gifted rising star Jack O'Connell, or "Attack The Block"'s Alex Esmail). That said, we've been burned by Vaughn too many times at this point to raise our hopes too high, though we're ever hopeful for a return to "Layer Cake" form from the director. With filming getting underway in August, we'll see how it turns out when 20th Century Fox open the film on November 14th, 2014.