Colin Firth is pitch-perfect as a painfully unconfident English royal in The King's Speech. As the film's co-producer Emile Sherman put it at last night's New York premiere: "Who else can you imagine playing this role?" After some seriously heavy lifting as a leading man for Tom Ford in A Single Man, and now, for director Tom Hooper, Firth may have finally clawed his way out of the box he's long occupied as everyone's favorite Mr. Darcy.
The film co-stars Geoffrey Rush as the stuttering Duke of York's eccentric speech therapist and Helena Bonham Carter—who arrived at the Ziegfeld Theatre with Valentino Garavani amid a storm of camera flashes—as his loyal wife. After the screening, guests including Rachel Roy, Moby, and Famke Janssen gathered at Forty Four at Royalton for an after-party sponsored by the ubiquitous DeLeón. (Some will remember blearily that the tequila company supported all those concerts at Don Hill's during fashion week.) Marchesa's Georgina Chapman accompanied Harvey Weinstein, who seems to have the perfect film on his hands for a winter Oscars campaign. What else is new?
On the carpet, Firth explained his attraction to the role. "It always appeals to me when you find virtues in a person that are not celebrated or easily recognized," he said. "Our fantasies are for superheroes who can lift up buildings and save the world, but to me, it's far more heroic to see a man for whom doing something as everyday as completing a sentence becomes something like an athletic feat." Somewhat modestly, Bonham Carter downplayed her role in the struggle: "It's always fun being the queen," she said.