Hollywood Award honoree

Tom Hooper knew he was coaxing a great performance out of leading man Colin Firth when the actor inadvertently stayed in character off-shoot.

“Colin had gone to receive an award for his performance in ‘A Single Man,’?” recalls Hooper, who began making movies at the age of 13 on a clockwork 16mm Bolex camera. “He came back (to the set of ‘The King’s Speech’) the next morning and said that when he started giving his acceptance speech, he began stuttering like his character. I said, ‘That’s the best news I’ve heard all day!’?”

Hooper’s film, which bows Stateside Nov. 26, depicts England’s stammering King George VI and his relationship with the eccentric Australian actor (Geoffrey Rush) who becomes the monarch’s speech coach. Hooper enjoyed a strong personal connection to the material.

“My mother is Australian. So as a half-Brit, half-Aussie, I always wanted to make a film that speaks to the Anglo-Australian experience,” notes the helmer.

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