Saturday, September 11, 2010

TIFF: My Brunch With Colin Firth ... Sort Of

Posted By on Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 5:42 PM

I could count on my hands (and still have a few fingers left) the times that high expectations have been matched by reality at the movies. But I’m thrilled to report that The King’s Speech is film royalty. I won’t be giving too much away by telling you that it’s a heartfelt examination of a little known piece of 20th century history.

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Colin Firth plays King George VI (father of current Queen Elizabeth), a man who right down to the tips of his fingers didn’t want to be king. To complicate matters, George was afflicted with a terrible stuttering problem; his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, is portrayed by Geoffrey Rush.

Saturday, Sept. 11, I joined about a dozen other reporters (and a gaggle of photographers) here at the TorontoInternational Film Festival to talk with Firth, Rush, director Tom Hooper and screenwriter David Seidler.

“Actually, my sister is a speech therapist,” said Firth, “but my greatest inspiration came from David (Seidler).”

Turns out, Seidler suffered from the same affliction as a child.

“I was a stutterer. My parents would tell me to listen to the radio,” said Seidler. “They told me to listen to King George when he spoke to the British people during World War II. They would tell me, in very hushed tones, that there was a rumor that the King was a stutterer, too. So he became my hero, and I always knew I would tell his story someday.”

And what about the possibility of an Oscar?

“It’s such a bumpy ride,” downplayed Firth. “Even if you had a prevailing feeling, there’s no way to sustain it. But if people are throwing baubles at you, it makes up for the years of rotten tomatoes.”

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