Firth crowned with lead role in "King's Speech"

Thu Sep 3, 2009 4:52am EDT
 
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - King George VI is the latest British royal to get the big-screen treatment: Colin Firth has signed on to play the monarch in "The King's Speech," and the Weinstein Co. has snapped up rights for North America and a host of other markets.

Firth will play George VI, known as Bertie, the father of the current Queen Elizabeth II, who assumed the throne when his brother Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson. The film will focus on his efforts to overcome a nervous stammer with the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue, to be played by Geoffrey Rush. The two actors previously starred together in "Shakespeare in Love."

Tom Hooper, whose resume includes HBO's "Elizabeth I" and "John Adams," will direct the feature, from a script by David Seidler.

In addition to North America, the Weinstein Co. has acquired rights for Germany, France, Benelux, Scandinavia, China, Hong Kong and Latin America.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

 
<p>British actor Colin Firth poses during a photocall to promote "Genova" on the fourth day of the 56th San Sebastian Film Festival September 21, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer</p>