Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

"King's Speech" Director: "I will probably never know if the Queen will see this film"

By Brian Brooks | Indiewire November 26, 2010 at 8:55AM

Since its screenings at Telluride and Toronto this year, Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" has been gaining Oscar buzz both for the director and its star, Colin Firth. Last year, the actor received a best actor nomination for his role in "A Single Man," which also screened at Toronto, and momentum is building for a repeat when the noms are unveiled in January. Hooper may very well be heading to the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles along with Firth for their film, based on the true story of Great Britain's WWII-era monarch, King George VI - father of the country's current sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.
0

Since its screenings at Telluride and Toronto this year, Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" has been gaining Oscar buzz both for the director and its star, Colin Firth. Last year, the actor received a best actor nomination for his role in "A Single Man," which also screened at Toronto, and momentum is building for a repeat when the noms are unveiled in January. Hooper may very well be heading to the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles along with Firth for their film, based on the true story of Great Britain's WWII-era monarch, King George VI - father of the country's current sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.

At a recent New York screening of the film at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Hooper said during an onstage interview with the organization's Scott Foundas that "the English are conflicted by monarchy. It's revered, loved, and entertaining, but also out of step with modernity." George's effort to overcome a long personal challenge fits well with a beleaguered nation facing a massive threat from Germany in its own hope to surmount a daunting threat.

Following the death of his father, George V (played by Michael Gambon) and the unbelievable abdication of his elder brother, Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) in order to marry the American divorceé Wallis Simpson, Bertie (Firth) is thrust upon the throne. He has suffered a debilitating stammer all his life, making any public speaking a moment of personal horror - something made all the worse with the dawn of the media age. With Britain on the brink of war and seriously in need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), meets with an eccentric Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Though the unlikely duo have a rough start, their relationship endures and Lionel's nontraditional methods begin to show signs of working.

"When he became King, people knew about his stammer and there was always this suspense about whether he'd be able to get through his speech," Hooper noted. "There was this question about whether he'd be able to overcome this and it was a metaphor for England itself, if it could overcome its current situation."

David Seidler, who wrote the film, also suffered from a profound childhood stutter, and George VI became a childhood hero and eventually the inspiration for the script. Hooper noted that Seidler had sent the screenplay to George VI's widow, The Queen Mother - her title following his death - but she had said the pain from that period was too painful and requested that it remain on the shelf until after her death. Following her death, the story regained momentum and after production finally began, the filmmakers received an unexpected windfall of information from the period.

"Nine weeks before film [production] ended, Lionel Logue's grandson found diaries depicting their relationship," said Hooper. "We had this astonishing treasure-trove of material, and some of the most witty things written in those diaries were written by the King himself."

Recalling the production further, Hooper said that despite some dissimilarities between George VI and the actor who would play him over a half-century after his death, Firth was the first person he wanted for the role. "The real king was rather small and sickly and Colin is about 6'2" and strapping, but [Firth] has this incredibly nice core like George, so they share a similar soul."

Asked whether the current monarch has seen the film, Hooper replied to some laughter, "People don't know if the Queen has even seen 'The Queen.' The reality is, I will probably never know if she will see this film, but do I hope she will? I do hope so and I hope she would like it."

Hooper also noted that decades on, George VI's legacy has had a profound effect on his daughter and the monarchy through his example, hinting that the institution's survival - which received a boost this week with the announcement of the pending marriage of George VI's great-grandson, Prince William - is due to his example. "Elizabeth II has a profound sense of duty that she saw in her father. If she lived some lifestyle like a Russian oligarch, it would be repugnant."

["The King's Speech" opens Friday, November 26 via The Weinstein Company in limited release, followed by additional cities in the coming weeks.]

This article is related to: Interviews, The King's Speech






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More