Colin Firth tells the truth about ‘Kingsman’ and becoming an action hero: ‘It hurt’

It would give me enormous pleasure to report that Colin Firth, when the cameras were off, was a rude, unpleasant bag of garbage. It would delight me to no end to report that as he walked out onto the balcony where we did our interview about his upcoming film “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” he punched an orphan and denied someone their basic human rights. I would love to be able to state, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is a terrible person.

But, of course, he's not, and so the ocean of women out there who have harbored decades of longing for this guy get to continue their crushes unabated, and I have to just accept that he really is charming and sharp and funny in person, and it's not all because of Richard Curtis, damn it.

There is something truly wonderful about the idea of casting him as a bone-breaking super-spy who doesn't look the part. Firth has always seemed ideal for making movies about “the little grey man,” the tradition of English spy fiction that John le Carre specialized in, stories about people whose whole job was to be so invisible that no one would ever think to look at them twice, so it seems particularly perverse of director Matthew Vaughn to cast him as a guy who looks like that, but who can play rougher than James Bond with a hangover.

“Matthew was very keen to overcome the implausibility of me doing a role like this… his thinking was just, 'Do it,' you know? It's easy enough, we just cut to a stuntman. Anyone can do that. But if you're really doing it, then that's our answer to the doubters.”

During the Hall H panel, they showed a fight scene from early in the film when Harry has to demonstrate his skills to Eggsy, a young man he's attempting to help, and he does so in a pub with a locked door. It is, to say the least, convincing, and I think Firth is not-so-secretly delighted with how it plays.

“I've done it, and I loved it. I was the biggest doubter of all in the early stages. And it hurt. And there were humiliations along the way. But actually feeling that I've done this myself, and to get the approval of these professionals I worked with…”

We were also joined by Taron Egerton, who plays Eggsy, the young man who Firth's Harry Hart decides to mentor, and Sophie Cookson, who is Roxy, another young candidate for the Kingsman program. The two of them seemed a little shocked by the sheer size and furor of the entire Comic-Con experience, but they rolled with it, and I think Firth seems like the right guy to have by your side in an experience as overwhelming as that.

Check this out, as well as our earlier chat with Samuel L. Jackson and Sofia Boutella.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is in theaters October 24, 2014.