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Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush and More Set for 'The King's Speech' Film


A host of British stage and screen stars are set for the upcoming wartime film "The King's Speech," surrounding George VI's struggles overcoming his stammer. The film is to be directed by Tom Hooper, most recently of the acclaimed The Damned. Shooting began on the film late last week.

As previously announced, Colin First will star as as the monarch George VI and Geoffrey Rush will join him as his Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Newly announced cast members include Helena Bonham Carter as George VI's wife, Michael Gambon as his father, Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill, as well as Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle, and Guy Pearce.

The King's Speech tells the story of the man who would become King George VI (Colin Firth), the father of the current Queen, Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George 'Bertie' VI 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.

Firth played William Shakespeare in a comedy special entitled Blackadder: Back & Forth. Edmund Blackadder runs into Firth's character while he is working on Macbeth, asks him to sign the script for him, and then punches him, saying "That is for every schoolboy and schoolgirl for the next 400 years!". Colin performed in theatre frequently between 1983 and 2000. He starred in Three Days of Rain as lead character Ned/Walker, as well as The Caretaker, Desire Under the Elms and Chatkzy.

Rush has appeared on stage for Company B, and for the Queensland Theatre Company and the Brisbane Arts Theatre, as well as in many other theatre venues, and has worked as a theatre director. His credits include William Shakespeare's plays, The Winter's Tale (with the South Australia Theatre Company in 1987 at The Playhouse in Adelaide), and Troilus and Cressida (at the Old Museum Building in 1989). He also appeared in an on-going production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest as John Worthing (Ernest) (in which his wife, Jane Menelaus, appeared as Gwendolen). In 2007, he starred as King Berenger in a production of Eugène Ionesco's Exit the King at the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne and Company B in Sydney, directed by Neil Armfield. Geoffrey Rush made his Broadway debut in a restaging of Exit the King under Malthouse Theatre'stouring moniker Malthouse Melbourne. This restaging featured a new American cast including Susan Sarandon. The show opened on 26 March 2009 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Geoffrey won the Outer Critics Circle Award, Theatre World Award, and Drama Desk Award, as well as the Distinguished Performance Award from the Drama League Award, and was the winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.

Michael Gambon has appeared many times on both stage and screen. He began performing at the Birmingham Repertory Company in Othello, Macbeth, and Coriolanus. In 1974, he starred in the Alan Ayckbourn play The Norman Conquests, which transfered to the west end. At the National Theatre, he performed in Harold Pinter's Betrayal. Gambon has appeared in Old Times at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and as Volpone in Pinter's Mountain Language. In 2001 he played what he described as "a physically repulsive" Davies in Patrick Marber's revival of Pinter's The Caretaker, but he found the rehearsal period an unhappy experience, and felt that he had let down the author. A year later, playing opposite Daniel Craig, he portrayed the father of a series of cloned sons in Caryl Churchill's A Number at the Royal Court, notable for a recumbent moment when he smoked a cigarette, the brightly lit spiral of smoke rising against a black backdrop, an effect which he dreamed up during rehearsals. In 2004 he finally achieved a life-long ambition to play Sir John Falstaff, in Nicholas Hytner's National Theatre production of Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2, co-starring with Matthew Macfadyen as Prince Hal.

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From This Author Jeff Dennhardt