TIFF ’10: Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: We’re in the final stretch. The 35th Toronto International Film Festival begins Thursday, and we’ll be reporting from the wilds of the Great White North. That also means we only have just a few more entries in our “Road to Toronto” feature.
To read our previous preview columns, punch “TIFF” into our search window. Today, “The Damned United” director Tom Hooper recruits an all-star cast of Brits to illustrate how a king overcame his speech impediment.
The King’s Speech
The Plot: In 1936, unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) agrees to help King George VI (Colin Firth) overcome his dreadful stutter.
The Director: Tom Hooper (“The Damned United”)
The Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Jennifer Ehle, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall
The Scoop: It sounds like such a small story. But oh, that cast! Last weekend, “The King’s Speech” charmed the pants off audiences and Oscar pundits at Telluride. It will look to build on that positive buzz by pulling into Toronto for a series of screenings this week (though, as a fellow journo pointed out, it’s press screening up against Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” on Friday morning, making for an almost impossible decision). That’s not to say it’s all peaches and cream for “Speech.” Backlash is inevitable, as when Cinematical’s Eugene Novikov tweeted, “Everyone chill the fuck out. You’ve seen this movie 500x, just w/ misfit football team instead of the king of England.” But for every semi-negative reaction, there’s an overwhelmingly positive response, as when producer Frank Marshall reports via Twitter that “THE KING’S SPEECH emerging as one of the favorites from Telluride Festival…”
Awards Potential: If you believe the hype, the sky’s the limit for “Speech.” Best Picture sure seems possible, especially with Harvey Weinstein guiding the film’s Oscar campaign. Hooper might have a hard time cracking the top 5 for Best Director if his competition stays stiff (Eastwood, Boyle, Fincher, Aronofsky are just a few major names in the race). But from what I am hearing, Firth, Rush and Carter are fantastic, and all must be considered real contenders in their respective categories.
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