Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The King's Speech promotional tour
Director Tom Hooper, whose heritage is both Australian and English was particularly drawn to this unlikely story, largely unknown, about the friendship which developed between King George VI and his Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue. The screenplay writer David Seidler, was a young stammerer himself during WWII and derived great inspiration from the King's struggles with his speech. After writing the screenplay for the film Tucker, (for Francis Ford Coppola in 1988), he turned to this story. However, after approaching the Queen Mother (widow of King George VI) for permission to tell the story, she asked that he wait until after her death, as the events were still too painful for her to relive. Little did he realize that she was to live until the age of 101! He was aware that some diaries and documents belonging to Lionel Logue existed, but by the time he finally got to write the story (after the death of Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 2002), it was only a few weeks before the film shoot began when the documents were finally found in the London attic of Logue's descendant.
Apparently, the script was reworked at the last minute to include much of the authentic information from the diaries and medical records. There was also a three week rehearsal involving Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and the director and writers where each line was worked on and some jokes even added by the actors. Apparently when Lionel Logue asks the King if he knows any jokes, and the King replies "Timing isn't my strong suit", that line was written by Colin Firth!
The film is largely about the friendship which develops between the two men and swings back and forth between drama and comedy (something the Brits do so brilliantly) and is already generating Oscar buzz. So you all know where I will be on December 10th when this is released in North America. I don't care if I have to drive to Toronto, I'll be seeing it on opening night!