Colin Firth considers acting to be a bit like exploring. “Whenever I embark on a project, it’s sort of an opportunity to plunge into a particular world, a different perception, to learn about maybe a time or a place that I didn’t know much about,” the celebrated British actor says. And in his latest star turn, in Tom Ford’s “A Single Man,” Firth takes on a whole new world — for him at least — by inhabiting the life of George, a gay college professor dealing with the death of his partner.


But as much as he enjoys going exploring, playing a gay man wasn’t that different from a normal day at the office. “Love is love,” he says. “I don’t really feel that there’s anything different to play because the partner happens to be male. The person I’ll be playing opposite is unlikely to be my lover anyway.”


Of course, it being set in the early 1960s, his character’s sexuality is very much an issue. But Firth sees the restrained manner in which Ford presents it as helpful. “I mean, there’s sex running all the way through the movie, which I think is strengthened by the fact that we don’t see anybody humping,” he says. “We don’t need to go into the territory of body functions. What’s interesting about sex is its implications.”