HAMPSHIRE heartthrob Colin Firth swaps his image as a dashing love interest to become a gentleman spy armed with a killer umbrella in his latest movie role.

The Mr Darcy and Bridget Jones actor attended the Comic-Con event in San Diego, California, ahead of the October release of his new film Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Firth, who was born in the county and educated in Winchester and at Barton Peveril College in Eastleigh, joins US star Samuel L Jackson, who plays a blood-hating villain with a lisp in the new movie.

Daily Echo: Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

One scene shows Firth taking on six thugs armed with his powerful umbrella and a watch which shoots an ''amnesia dart''.

Later he fends off people in a church using the Bible as a weapon.

Jackson, famous for movie roles including Pulp Fiction, has a headquarters in the film which becomes the scene of violence when a woman with knives for feet slices a man in half vertically, before covering dead bodies to protect her boss' sensitivities.

Mark Millar, the Scottish creator of the comic book on which the film is based, called it ''a love letter to the spy movies we miss''.

The English writer and director behind Kick-Ass, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, reunited for the film, billed as a tribute to the classic James Bond movies.