Colin Firth’s wife is Italian. Therefore Colin Firth speaks Italian. When Firth dropped by TIME’s offices to promote his new movie The Railway Man, he acknowledged that he spoke it well enough to make an Italian movie, as long as he were playing an English guy. Firth’s particularly fond of Italian insults, which he claims are more precise than the ones in the language you are currently reading.
In Firth’s new movie, which also stars Nicole Kidman, he plays a former POW who worked on the horrific Thai Burma railway during World War 2. (This one of the most brutal episodes of the Pacific theater, but is not as well-known as some of the horrors of Europe.) Firth’s character is based on a real person by the name of Eric Lomax, a railway enthusiast who survived the war but not without a marriage-damaging amount of emotional damage. Lomax is bent on revenge and the movie follows what happens after he finds one of his tormentors showing tourists around his old prison camp.
In the fuller interview, which subscribers can read here, Firth also talks about the horror of naked costars and what he feels about his dreamy reputation.
Watch a longer version of the interview below.