Rights to "The King's Speech," which will be directed by Emmy Award winner Tom Hooper ("John Adams," "Elizabeth I") have been picked up by The Weinstsein Company from See-Saw Films and Bedlam Productions. David Glasser, TWC's president of international distribution and Tom Ortenberg, president of theatrical films made the announcement of the deal, which includes all rights for North America, Germany, France, Benelux, Scandinavia, China, Hong Kong and Latin America. The script is written by David Seidler ("Tucker: The Man and His Dream") and stars Colin Firth ("Bridget Jones," "Girl With a Pearl Earring") and Academy Award-winner Geoffrey Rush ("Shine," "Elizabeth").
"The King's Speech" recounts the story of the man who would become Great Britain's King George VI, the father of the U.K.'s current sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother (King Edward VIII) abdicates, George 'Bertie' VI (Colin Firth) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded nervous stammer and considered unfit to be King, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war.
Principal photography will start later this year, and TWC plans for a 2010 release. "The King's Speech" is being produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films, and Gareth Unwin of Bedlam Productions. Bedlam's Simon Egan will act as co-producer on the film. The film re-teams Firth and Rush, who previously starred together in "Shakespeare in Love."
Glasser, Michal Steinberg, SVP of business and legal affairs and acquisitions, and Rhodri Thomas, VP of production and development, negotiated on behalf of TWC. Emile Sherman and Iain Canning negotiated on behalf of See-Saw Films International, See-Saw Films' International sales company, together with Libby Savill, Head of the film team at London based law film Olswang. Following Sam Taylor-Wood's "Nowhere Boy," this is the second acquisition made by Ortenberg and Glasser since Ortenberg joined TWC.
"Given Harvey Weinstein's successes such as 'Shakespeare in Love' and more recently with 'The Reader,' we are excited to be collaborating with TWC on 'The King's Speech,'" commented Sherman, Canning and Unwin in a statement. "Harvey, Tom and David are incredibly enthusiastic about the material and so we look forward to working with them and The Weinstein Company team as we move the film into production later this year."