COLIN Firth will always remember Ipswich as the place he was dragged across a rail yard, thrown in a cell and kicked.
He joked he was not sure he had the full picture of the area when he spoke to media at the Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast on Tuesday.
The Oscar-winning King's Speech actor is in Australia to film the historical film The Railway Man.
Though the film, relating the experience of a prisoner of war on the Burma Railway, was predominately filmed in Asia, some of it has been produced at the North Ipswich Railyards and around the Gold Coast.
Firth said it was difficult to play such a tortured role while he was staying on the Gold Coast.
"I've really loved it. It's a little hard to think of yourself as a tortured person when you're surrounded by paradise with very relaxed and chilled people which is what we've run into," he said.
"It's just been bliss. It's been hard to go to work and work yourself into a state of torment when everything here conspires against it."
"This is my first time here and it's been sheer joy - glorious weather, the food has been exceptional and the hospitality has been overwhelming.
Firth said Nicole Kidman, who plays alongside him, had been inspirational.
"Some things are just easy," he grinned.
"An awful lot of this one, you just can't imagine how it is possible and I did not have to imagine with Nicole.
"She did the most beautiful job.
"She just came at it with the natural talents and attributes with which you are very well acquainted."
No matter which new movie Firth plays, he will always be Mr Darcy to thousands of women around the world.
He cut a dashing shape as he weaved around the Palazzo Versace pool to greet media.
Probably more accustomed to swooning women, Firth was surprised by the "serene bunch" who greeted him.
Though he delivers serious answers to questions about a serious film, the occasional smile is enough to make hearts melt.