Colin Firth

Matthew Macfadyen and Colin Firth discuss the Bromantic Power of Two Mr. Darcys

Some viewers will tune into Operation Mincemeat, the World War II–set film now streaming on Netflix, for its historical spy-caper components. The movie—named for the British deception operation it depicts—features Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen as the real-life men who pulled off a preposterous-sounding ruse. Hatched by British intelligence officer (and future James Bond creator)…

Some viewers will watch Operation Mincemeat , for its historical spy-caper elements. The movie–named for the British deception operation it depicts–features Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen as the real-life men who pulled off a preposterous-sounding ruse. The operation to deceive Hitler was orchestrated by Ian Fleming Johnny Flyn and British intelligence officer.

There is another reason why people might watch the historical drama: Two English actors are beloved for playing Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen’s romantic hero. Firth, of course, assumed the honors in 1995’s six-part BBC classic Pride and Prejudice. He also played Darcy in the Bridget Jones’s Diary films. Macfadyen, meanwhile, assumed the role in 2005’s Joe Wright-directed adaptation opposite Keira Knightley‘s Elizabeth Bennett.

The Darcys unify in Operation mincemeat ,, directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love. The Darcys also play two points in a love triangle, which also includes a typist played Kelly Macdonald. During press rounds, however, Macdonald pointed out that the “the real romance” of the production was happening platonically offscreen between her male costars. Firth himself confirmed that at the London premiere, when he dryly told a reporter, “Yes, we did sort of fall in love, bromantically.”

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

So what was it that kindled the fire of their friendship?

“Shallow chitchat, really,” Firth tells Vanity Fair in a Zoom reuniting him, in Los Angeles, with Macfadyen in London. “Wasn’t it, mostly? A tendency to wear the same clothes.”

“Yeah, turning up in the same clothes,” agrees Macfadyen, deadpanning. “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 lots of shared acquaintances an

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