Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen on the bromantic power of two Mr. Darcys

Some viewers will tune in Ground Meat Operation, the WWII film is now streaming on Netflix, for its historical spy components. The film, named after the British deception operation it depicts, features Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen like the real-life men who pulled off some absurd-sounding ruse. Hatched by British intelligence officer (and future James Bond creator) Ian Fleming (Johnny Flynn), the operation to deceive Hitler involved planting false documents on a corpse in Allied uniform.

There are others, however, that might plug into the historical drama for an entirely different reason: it features two dashing English actors beloved for playing Jane Austen’s eternal romantic hero, Mr. Darcy. . Firth, of course, took the honors in the six-part BBC classic in 1995 Pride and Prejudice. (He also played a modernized version of Darcy in the Bridget Jones Diary movies.) Macfadyen, meanwhile, took on the role in 2005 Joe Wright–facing-directed adaptation Keira KnightleyIt’s Elizabeth Bennett.

The Darcys unite in Ground Meat Operation, directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, the best exotic hotel Marigold) and based on Ben Macintyrethe eponymous book. They also play two points of a love triangle which also involves a typist played by Kelly McDonald. During press tours, however, Macdonald pointed out that the production’s “real romance” happened platonically off-screen between its male co-stars. Firth himself confirmed this at the London premiere, when he dryly told a reporter: “Yeah, we kind of fell in love, bromantically.”

Macfadyen and Firth in Ground Meat Operation.By Giles Keyte/Courtesy of See-Saw Films and Netflix.

So what lit the fire of their friendship?

“Shallow chatter, really,” says Firth vanity lounge in a Zoom reuniting him, in Los Angeles, with Macfadyen in London. “Wasn’t it, mostly?” A tendency to wear the same clothes.

“Yeah, showing up in the same clothes,” Macfadyen nods deadpan. “I would come dressed as Colin, and vice versa.”

Firth laughs at the image.

“And inevitably,” Macfadyen continues, “if you spend years and years in the business, you accumulate a lot of mutual acquaintances and colleagues, and so that leads to a lot of gossip.”

“Well, we made each other laugh, I think,” Firth offers.

“It’s true,” confirms Macfadyen.

“It’s pretty exciting when you find yourself laughing, and you can crack a joke, which isn’t very good, and you become [a good response]says Firth. “Matthew is a pretty easy crowd.”

“Maybe your jokes are better,” admits Macfadyen.

“Also, we watch the movie with a slightly hazy nostalgia, because there was no COVID yet,” says Firth, explaining that the Darcys formed a happy, maskless gang with Macdonald, Flynn and costar. Penelope Wilton during filming. “That was the last thing we did before this all started.”

Returning to the subject, he says: “Sometimes it’s just an instinctive ease. It was not a blind date. We had a project to do. So I think a lot of things can come from just having this joint effort.

Did they compare notes on Darcy’s game, though?

From Shutterstock.

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