HOLLYWOOD heart-throb Colin Firth's time in Ipswich was brief but memorable - yesterday the star joked he would never forget being dragged around and tortured by his captors at the North Ipswich rail workshops.
He visited the workshops to film a particularly gritty scene for war-time movie The Railway Man.
"My only experience of Ipswich was the rail yard in which I was sort of dragged across the courtyard and thrown into a cell and kicked about, so I'm sure it's lovely but that experience was probably not the full picture," Firth laughed.
Firth made his low-profile visit to Ipswich on Monday, and tight security ensured waiting media did not glimpse the star.
He spent yesterday morning relaxing at Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast after the workshops scene. Firth, along with co-stars Sam Reid and Hiroyuki Sanada, spoke highly of his time in the sunshine state.
"It's hard to get inside the mind of a tortured person, surrounded by paradise and relaxed and chilled people," Firth said.
"It's been bliss. It's hard to actually go to work and work yourself up into a state of torment.
"I finished this film yesterday (Monday) afternoon, and it's a terrible pity that I have to be leaving now."
Producer and co-screenwriter Andy Paterson said he first visited Ipswich while scouting locations for The Railway Man.
"I'd been to Ipswich a long time ago and it's a great facility because you have all these rail lines coming in," Mr Paterson said.
Firth said playing the role of tortured Second World War prisoner Eric Lomax was confronting. The Railway Man will focus on the true story of the British soldier, who was taken as a prisoner of war by Japanese forces and set to work on the infamous Burma Railway.
Later in life, and with the support of Patti Lomax (Nicole Kidman), Lomax located and confronted his Japanese interrogator (Hiroyuki Sanada).
"What it has made me aware of through the very specific eyes of Eric is that I grew up with people that had been through these sorts of things... and I think, because it was a relatively short time since the war had ended and the experiences were common to many, perhaps we didn't view it with the compassion we might have done," Firth said.