Colin Firth is nothing like his movie characters.

The actor, who gained his sex symbol status by playing brooding characters such as Mr Darcy in 'Pride And Prejudice', says he's more "open with his emotions" in real life but isn't a typical romantic.

He said: "I have to confess I'm nowhere near as pleasant, patient, or self-deprecating as those people. I don't feel much identification with Darcy. I'm more open with my emotions.

"I'm not optimistic enough to be an incurable romantic, although I do have my brief spells where I see the world from a more romantic perspective.

"I'm also rather pessimistic when it comes to idealised notions of love and romance."

The British heartthrob is married to Italian documentary maker Livia Giuggioli and is impressed with the open and exuberant nature of his spouse's countrymen.

He said: "I love the fact that Italians are more exuberant than Brits. I enjoy lavish Italian meals in Tuscany or other parts of Italy. I have to fight my own nature sometimes to share in that extraordinary appreciation of life."