Meeting Mr Darcy
"The year 2005 was remarkable for two reasons. It was the first time I’d broken a limb and that wasn’t any fun at all. But I also got to meet Colin Firth and that was very fun indeed.
It was a riding accident that did me in. I was thrown from a friend’s horse and as soon as my ankle cracked down hard on a railway tie that was lying on the ground I knew it was broken. That was in July. Recovery required surgery and the insertion of five pins and screws to fuse my ankle together. Weeks of physiotherapy followed and by September the cast and brace were removed and I hobbled around on crutches.
|Colin Firth as Mr Darcy|
For ten days each September my hometown of Toronto gets taken over by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and as an entertainment journalist by day (novelist by night) I have to make the rounds of the various junkets and interview the stars. It’s exhausting on two solid legs. With my left leg atrophied I felt more like a muppet than a reporter but off to work I had to go. It was to be my first day in shoes.
My editor had the best assignment she told me. Knowing my obsession with the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice – which was all about Colin Firth – she guessed I’d want to interview him. She was right! He had starred in Canadian director Atom Egoyan’s film Where the Truth Lies that co-starred Kevin Bacon. I had to interview both actors at the same time in a swanky hotel suite at the Park Hyatt.
But hobbling in on crutches seemed undignified so my physiotherapist loaned me a different type of crutch. The kind you slid you arm into, you see people with permanent disabilities using them because they are easier for longer periods of time. She was right, I was able to navigate more swiftly and because I could wear shoes no one could tell I was injured or what the injury way. What I realized later was that a cast or brace says broken bone, these types of crutches used with shoes said I might have bigger issues.
|Colin Firth at the 2005 Toronto Festival with Kevin Bacon and Rachel Blanchard|
Off I went. I made it to the suite and the film representatives helped me with the doors, getting a seat and taking my handbag so I would be comfortable. The extra attention was nice but I didn’t really think much of it and admitted that I was recovering from a broken ankle.
I’ve interviewed loads of famous faces. But this time I was nervous. This time was Colin Firth! I sat there waiting and then I heard him. That unmistakeable voice from P&P…the deep smokey sound of Mr. Darcy/Mr. Firth. My nerves got shakier.
“Ms. Izzo, it’s your turn,” the press officer called me over to the other room where the voice had beckoned.
I stood up as straight as I could and threaded my arms through the crutches and went into the room. There was Kevin and Colin standing up to greet me. I wish I could describe Kevin for you but the truth is I didn’t really notice him. I only had eyes for Colin. He was as tall, handsome and gentlemanly as Mr. Darcy. Not every star lives up to the fantasy. Colin did and then some. But what happened next can best be described as a farce.
I held out my right hand to shake his. He took my hand. We shook hands. My right arm slipped out of the brace and the crutch crashed to the floor. The look of horror on Colin’s face was priceless. He thought he’d knocked the crutch out of a disabled girl’s hand and was mortified. He dove to the floor to pick it up. I did my best to grab it too all the while muttering, “It’s just a broken ankle, I’m fine, really…”
I know how to make an entrance put it that way! We sat down and I was out of breath and stuttering my questions. But Colin, still unsure what he had done or not done was extra sweet and gave me more than my allotted time for the interview. Kevin weighed in and I made sure to ask him stuff too. I kept imagining what it must be like for Kevin to spend the day with all the female journalists ignoring him for more Colin time. But it’s Mr. Darcy!
Interview done I got up as gracefully as I could and walked out one step at a time. Thankfully my ankle healed. I’m still waiting for a second shot at a Colin meeting. Though I wonder if he will remember…."
Wow! I've got 3 copies of Kim's THE JANE AUSTEN MARRIAGE MANUAL to give away but you must carefully follow the instructions below to be included in the final draw:
1. post your comment
2. add your e-mail address
3. specify the country you live in
I've got 1 copy for Europe, 1 for Canada and 1 for the US. Thanks to Kim's publishers in the UK (Hodder & Stoughton), in Canada (Harper Collins) and in the US (St Martin's Press). The giveaway ends on May 23rd when the names of the winners are announced.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Katherine Shaw—Kate— is happy with her life. She has supportive friends, a glamorous magazine career, and a love of all things Jane Austen. But when she loses her job, her beloved grandmother falls ill and a financial disaster forces a sale on the family home, Kate finds herself facing a crisis that would test even the most stalwart of Austen heroines.
Friends rally round, connecting her to freelance gigs, and presenting her with a birthday gift— title to land in Scotland—that’s about to come in very handy. Turns out that Kate’s first freelance assignment is to test an Austen-inspired theory: in the toughest economic times is a wealthy man the only must-have accessory? What begins as an article turns into an opportunity as Kate—now Lady Kate—jet-sets to Palm Beach, St Moritz and London where, in keeping company with the elite, she meets prospects who make Mr. Darcy look like an amateur. But will rubbing shoulders with men of good fortune ever actually lead her to love? And will Kate be able to choose between Mr. Rich and Mr. Right?