In his latest role, Colin Firth plays King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, in Tom Hooper's slice of royal life 'The King's Speech.' The film takes place at a particularly rich time in British history: WWII is fast approaching, and things in Europe are precarious at best.

George's brother Edward (Guy Pearce), who abdicated the throne for his American mistress, is enjoying cocktails with Hitler and Himmler while George, known in the family as 'Bertie,' is struggling with his new position as king. He isn't considered ideal king material, but destiny is flung into his lap. A stammerer, overly emotional, prone to anger and tears, and totally lacking in self-confidence, George had it tough from the beginning.

Moviefone caught up with Firth at the Toronto Film Festival.

Check back closer to December 10, when 'The King's Speech' is set for release,
for our full interview with Firth, co-star Geoffrey Rush and director Tom Hooper.
In his latest role, Colin Firth plays King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, in Tom Hooper's slice of royal life 'The King's Speech.' The film takes place at a particularly rich time in British history: WWII is fast approaching, and things in Europe are precarious at best.

George's brother, Edward (Guy Pearce), who abdicated the throne for his American mistress, is enjoying cocktails with Hitler and Himmler while George, known in the family as 'Bertie,' is struggling with his new position as king. He isn't considered ideal king material, but destiny is flung into his lap. A stammerer, overly emotional, prone to anger and tears, and totally lacking in self-confidence, George had it tough from the beginning.

Moviefone caught up with Firth at the Toronto Film Festival.

Check back closer to Dec. 10, when 'The King's Speech' is set for release, for our full interview with Firth, co-star Geoffrey Rush and director Tom Hooper.

King George VI was apparently a good man but had real problems -- there was an abusive nanny, being forced to use the wrong hand, being forced to wear the crown. He was understandably angry at the world, but you managed to make him sympathetic.

I can't quite answer to the level of sympathy that comes across, but I found him sympathetic. There are two key things, really, one of which is character. I think he was fiercely honest, clearly extremely brave, but I don't think he felt brave. I think he just felt so suffocated by fear. Bravery is what you end up doing. It's not how you feel, you don't feel brave; if you feel brave you're probably not being brave, because there is nothing to be brave about.

And second: he was funny. And that is not what is written down in history. I don't mean howlingly, stand-up comedy funny, but if you read anything he wrote -- and we had access to his diaries -- it's all in there as well. If you read his quotes that aren't political speeches, like private letters and reported conversations, there is a great sense of wryness. And I thought that was an immense sign of character.

Isn't that interesting? Many comedians seem to have dark, fearful aspects of their personalities.
Some people would say comedy draws from some dark places, from your dark stuff. Life's great optimists aren't necessarily the funniest people. The line about stammering, "So they'd know it was me" -- that came from the diaries. I found that and said, "Please can we have it in that scene?" It didn't belong to that speech in reality, but he said it afterwards; these were the words spoken by these men. As I said, it's not the pinnacle of wit, but it shows he has a sense of humor about him.

Guy Pearce plays David in a very arch way. He was totally in thrall to Wallis, who emasculated him, and completely uncaring towards his brother.
People take sides on this issue. There are a lot of apologists for him; one of our consultants for the movie felt Wallis had been very much maligned, that she wasn't the predatory opportunist people think she was. She might not have been. I don't feel strongly about that, but I do have a problem with how much time they hung out with Hitler. This isn't Hitler with knowledge of concentration camps. He is clearly a Nazi, but the implications are there. Hindsight can judge people in a very different way.

'The King's Speech' is scheduled for release on December 10th.