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TIFF 2009 – Colin Firth Found Working With First-Time Director Tom Ford on A Single Man Intriguing

Single.JPGOne of the biggest success stories out of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival has to be the purchase of the A Single Man by the Weinstein Company — and the attendant buzz that suddenly has vaulted the movie into the awards race. Starring Colin Firth as a man adrift after the death of his longtime lover, the movie marks the feature film directorial debut of noted fashion designer Tom Ford.

At the press conference for the movie, I asked Firth if he felt any trepidation about working with a director who’d never made a movie before. “Never trepidation. I mean, it couldn’t have been further from trepidation,” recalled Firth. “There are a million different ways you can be a wonderful director. If you are working with a highly imaginative, highly intelligent person with an extraordinary set of skills … it was nothing but intrigue from the beginning, really. It was a day or two into shooting where I realized that we had harmonized in terms of what we were both wanting to do. It was never really much of a tussle.” Asked if he had any hesitation about jumping from fashion to film, Ford’s confidence spoke volumes: “I don’t want to sound egotistical at all, but it was a very smooth transition for me. There is a certain similarity in the way one works in fashion and you work in film: You have to have a vision, you have to work with a group of technicians — fashion is much more collaborative than one would imagine — you have to have a group of technicians to help you realize your vision. Ford added, “I’m not going to say that there weren’t moments where I thought, ‘God am I doing this the right way?’ but I had a terrific team of people. Colin, you just have to put a camera on him and he performs.”

Ford also praised his leading man’s magnetism: “Colin has this very subtle sensuality, which, occasionally, isn’t subtle at all.” Firth noted there were times when he felt beholden to Ford, and not the other way around. “To have something that was so personal, a story that was so important to him, and then to put so much of it in my hands where I’ve gone and got all the screen time… I certainly felt the degree of trust that had been placed with me.”

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