Colin Firth on ’60 Minutes’ – ‘found a line’ for ‘King’s Speech’ in bed (video) — Even as they were filming the 12-nominee Oscar-bound film, The King’s Speech, the actors and filmmakers were finding new material to add to the script. That’s because diaries by King George VI’s speech therapist, Lionel Logue, had just been discovered in the therapist’s grandson’s attic during shooting. Colin Firth explained a find he made from the diaries that ended up in the final cut of the movie in his interview with 60 Minutes, broadcast on CBS Sunday.
The title of The King’s Speech is a play on words, so to speak. The story is about King George VI of Great Britain and how an Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue helped the reluctant king deal with a stutter he had endured since childhood. The play on words comes from the fact that the story leads up to a pivotal public address the king gave to his country via radio announcing that the country would again face war with Germany.
Filmmakers approached the therapist’s grandson, Mark Logue, to see if he had any family photographs they could use for help with costume design. He told them that he not only had family photographs but that he also had his grandfather’s diaries in the attic. In unpacking the boxes, they found not only the diaries but also over 100 letters between Lionel Logue and King George VI. It was a goldmine for the filmmakers, for scholars, and for history.
Mr. Firth said, “The line at the end I found reading the diaries in bed one night — because this is what I used to do every night — where Logue says ‘you still stammered on the W.'”
The lines in the film go:
LIONEL LOGUE: “You still stammered on the W.”
KING GEORGE VI (“Bertie”): “I had to throw in a few so they’d know it was me.”
“It shows that these men had a sense of humor,” Mr. Firth observed. “It showed there was wit. It showed there was self-mockery. It just showed a kind of buoyancy of spirit between them.”
Mr. Firth also revealed that they found out other facts about King George’s VI public speaking methods from his therapist’s diaries. Though the King was photographed giving the pivotal speech of the film sitting at a desk, for instance, “In reality, he had to stand up to speak,” Mr. Firth said, in a “little hidden room.” The actor continued, “He had to have the window open, and he had to have his jacket off.” Filmmakers recreated the scene in the film using these new, historically documented details.
For the goldmine of material they did find to use in the film, there was little information about the methods Lionel Logue used in treating the King’s condition. For that, they depended on known speech therapies as well as the actors’ own experiences. Geoffrey Rush, who plays Logue, for example, contributed the technique of shaking the face as a means of relaxing the muscles — a technique he’d heard about as an actor.
The King’s Speech is nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011.
60 Minutes airs Sunday nights on CBS at 7 p.m. Eastern.
VIDEO: Watch the 60 Minutes segment with Colin Firth’s interview in the lefthand column of this page, or you can also watch it here.
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