05 March 2011

Behind the Scenes: The King's Speech

And the award goes to... The King's Speech! If I've counted correctly, this film picked up 4 Oscars in the US on Sunday. It is the inspiring story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne, and the speech therapist who helped him overcome quite a speech impediment. Starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Derek Jacobi; directed by Tom Hooper. A unique, wonderful film.

Lucky me, I saw this at the giant Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square with a packed house of hundreds of British movie-goers. Who knew this was such a funny film? And there was loud applause after the film.

What stood out for me was the decor - oh, those walls! So interesting and such yummy colors. The actual therapy room was too small for filming, so they used a building just a block away at 33 Portland Place in London.  Apparently when the production team arrived, one wall was covered in half-scraped, half-burned wallpaper infused with oil.  It was the look they were going for, so they finished the mottled, peeling effect on the rest of the walls. To make room for the therapy sessions, little furniture was needed. 

In place of Buckingham Palace, scenes were shot in the grand Lancaster House nearby, currently used by the Foreign Office for diplomatic conferences and assemblies. 

The closed Battersea Power Station in South London was the setting for the BBC Wireless Control Room; the present machinery was used as props.

Leeds United's Elland Road Stadium was the stand-in for the old Wembley Stadium where the future king's stammer first caught public attention. Interestingly, the crew had to wait until 10p to get into the stadium following a football match. They filled the stands with inflatable people. You would never know. 

Director Tom Hooper wanted a 'smoggy, grungy look' of the 1930s, so they threw dirty water over everything, and even brought in a gritting van at 5a to cover the ground with dirt. They pumped in so much smog, it set off the fire alarms in a local department store!

Unlike multiplexes, you would find independent cinemas serving alcohol, homemade cakes, and gourmet treats like wasabi peas. They have cozy waiting lounges. Big comfy chairs in the theater. Nothing like a delicious cocktail while watching a kids flick : ) Love that! But I digress...

Interestingly, the British Board of Film Classification warned that The King's Speech 'contains strong language in a speech therapy context'. Isn't that fascinating?

Equally fascinating is the difference in film rating. In the UK, The King's Speech is rated 12 (suitable for 12 years and over), whereas in the US this same film is rated R (under 17 requires accompanying parent or guardian). What do you make of that?


Make mine Mid-Century said...

I haven't seen it. I hear it's absolutely wonderful ... I loce your behind-scenes info.

Thanks for all that!

Jeanne said...

Hi Laura

I often wondered where they filmed the movie, it is great to know! As for the rating, we took our 11 year old son and he loved it. We were ready for the swearing but to be honest I thought it was tame compared to some of the TV/Movies that are out there for kids. He understood the context in which they were used, giggled thru it all and came out inspired and thankful for this additional slice of history for the memory banks. He loves history this child of mine.

When we fist moved away from the states all those years (1999) ago and settled in Australia I remember being aghast at what shown in commercials and prime time TV. The drive to school in the morning left me constantly changing the channel as everything seemed to be inappropriate. I gave up in the end and we all got used to it and moved on.

I think it is suitable for 12 years but it depends on the child and the parents. Some kids would think it is boring and then there was mine who was hanging on every word, every stutter.

It was a great film! Thanks for the info here :)

Jeanne xx

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Hi lovely,

I REALLY like your behind-the-scenes information. I LOVED this film (as you know!).

That's so interesting about the ratings. Usually I'm all for higher ratings (especially for violence and sex) but, apart from the swearing scene, I'm not sure what else there was in the film to make it a 15 rating.

Hmm...now you've got me thinking. Should bad language make it a 15?


Robynne's Nest said...

Great post Laura...love the couch...and the walls...don't think my hubby would go for that look though. Haven't seen the film yet but do have a soft spot for 'Mr Darcy' of course! Robx

Emma said...

Laura, what a great post! I am so looking forward to seeing this movie. Such a great cast and Derek Jacobi's voice.... mmmmm! Thanks for all the inside info, I just loved it all! x

Posie Patchwork said...

Thanks for the details, fascinating!! Really looking forward to this movie, just a wonderful period (well not so wonderful for those at the time in a depression) but my parents were born in the 1930s (my Mummy in England) so i might buy the movie for her. Love Posie

Daydream Living said...

Hi Laura!
Just last night saw the movie with a bunch of UK people, loved it! Thank you so much for the info, I was looking at all the decor too, that wall! the colors!
Rating, well.... like Jeanne said, it was only in some scenes and frankly there are worse things on tv, in the context it was funny, i think.
great post, enjoy the weekend (cold here brrr)
Maureen x


Thanks, Laura, for doing all the research to bring to this great post. I loved the movie and it is fun to know more about it. Inflatible people . . . who knew such a thing existed. Could come in handy in the States for car-pool lanes that require an extra person in the car. :)

I really want to see it again now.


Connie said...

Thanks for giving us the "behind the scenes" look at "The King's Speech". I thought the film was absolutely wonderful and getting to know a little more about the filming is fascinating. I can't believe they used blow up people! You're right, I would never have known it!

La Vie Quotidienne said...

I knew the story before I saw the film but it was just terrific...acting, sets and all. Wonderful.

European Travelista said...

Thanks for the insider information. This movie was by far my favorite of the season. I just wish Jeffrey Rush would have won for supporting actor!

Sanctuary Home said...

I haven't seen that movie yet, but I want to. I just found your blog, and I'm lovin it! I'm also your newest follower. Come by and see me sometime...maybe stay for a spot of tea? ; )

Hines-Sight said...

Can't wait for Netflix to get it. I hoope you're well this weekend.

Sailor said...

Nice picture and love the pictures !

Diana said...

Interesting that the U.S. had a stricter rating for the movie -- but not entirely surprising, is it, for a country occasionally tripped up by its Puritan roots? I haven't seen the movie yet -- am hoping to get my husband to a matinee in the next week or so. I love the behind-the-scenes tour and would love to get my livingroom walls looking like that!

American in Bath said...

The same thing I make of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time being marked here to children. Children cannot see the world through cotton wool, books and film are good introductions. Oh, and then there is the issue of American film boards moralizing for the public--Those are fun debates to read.

Clearly, I've grown to serious. Must be time for bed;)

Meera @ firstsense said...

Fascinating info, Laura! Inflatable people?? Wow!

I loved this movie and the sets were so perfectly done!

I do wonder about the rating difference between UK and US for many movies... do the rating people believe that the American public is more conservative?

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I loved the walls in his consultation room. How cool that some of the wall was like that already. But it must have been pretty hard to match up.

The settings were great in the film, weren't they?


monica lee said...

Thank you for all this info, interesting indeed. I loved the film. My son is 13 and would not be shocked my the language (I live int he US) It is a ridiculous rating-I was just so happy to see a film with no sex or violence!

ramblinbess said...

I loved reading about all this background info on the film. I can't wait to watch it! Speaking of theatres, there are a few historic ones in Denver (probably a lot of other cities too) where you can get drinks. It makes for a nice night out.

Sarah at Finishing Touch Interiors said...

Its a beautiful piece of furniture but then it all ways back then, im not sure how comfortable it would be though

MNUKGIRL said...

Love this post about The King's Speech and all the facts you listed! You know I love that stuff! :) I can't wait to see that movie!

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

I love this kind of information--Im so into the behind the scene's stuff for everything: movies, chocolate factories, hospitals, whatever! I was surprised about the inflatable audience though; I would expect CGI.

Good post!

Oneika said...

I love love loved this film!!!

Privet and Holly said...

Just realized that
I'd somehow missed
this post! EEK! My
sweet Laura AND my
lovely Colin, together
in a fabulous post!
Loved all the behind
the scenes info. It
was a super film and
I was so happy it got
such high praise.
xx Suzanne

Tina in CT said...

I found your blog through the comment you left on my daughter's blog (american girls in moscow). I absolutely loved The King's Speech and told everyone to go see it. So interesting to read your posting on it.


Not only I loved this movie but adored the locations, specially the sofa against the decayed wall, totally gorgeous!!!
By the way thanks for leaving a comment in my blog, when are you having the bloggers gathering? would love to come along, still on the 19? I am going to be around Brick Lane area and in town, let me know as I would love to come along.

Shelley said...

It's my birthday the end of this month (55! It looks like a seriously big number now!) and I've asked for this DVD for my birthday. I happen to know it's on order...really looking forward to seeing it!

Lynne said...

I love the movie and could watch it again and again. Great post!