It appears that Colin Firth's younger sister Kate helped him master the stammering required for the film ...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1349666/Colin-Firths-sister-taught-stammer-role-The-Kings-Speech.html
Revealed: The little sister who taught Colin Firth to stammer for acclaimed role in The King's Speech
By Polly Dunbar
Last updated at 4:10 PM on 23rd January 2011
He is the runaway favourite to win Best Actor at the Oscars for his portrayal of King George VI’s struggle to overcome his stammer with the help of an unorthodox Australian speech therapist. And, in a case of life imitating art, Colin Firth has revealed that he too relied on expert advice during his preparation for the role from his younger sister, Kate.
Kate, a professional voice coach described by her brother as ‘jaw-dropping’ in her abilities, helped the 50-year-old actor to master the King’s debilitating speech impediment.
Sibling support: Colin Firth turned to his sister Kate (pictured), who is a professional voice coach, as he mastered the King's stammer
The King’s Speech tells the story of Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, who was reluctantly thrust into the limelight and on to the throne after his brother Edward VIII abdicated to marry divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.
When the outbreak of the Second World War required the new King, by then known as George VI, to become a voice of reassurance for the nation over the radio, his battle to speak fluently became all the more crucial.
His wife Elizabeth, played by Helena Bonham Carter, found a speech therapist called Lionel Logue to help him.
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The King gradually grew close to Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, as he learned to manage his stammer.
Mr Firth said: ‘I turned to the best speech therapist I know, which happened to be my sister, and said, "What would an unconventional guy in 1937 have done with this man?” A lot of the routines that you see, the bizarre stuff, were her ideas.’
The critically acclaimed British film has been a commercial success both at home and in the US.
Film therapy: Colin Firth, centre, as George VI, with Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush
Mr Firth’s performance has already won him a Golden Globe and he is the odds-on favourite to win the Best Actor awards at next month’s Baftas and Oscars.
He said: ‘I have had it explained this is common to everyone who struggles with stammering all you want is to get to the end of a sentence. To speak is your dream, content is often secondary. You’ll order fish instead of beef at a restaurant because you can’t get the “b” out.’
Critical acclaim: Colin Firth with his Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture award at the Golden Globes
Although Kate declined to comment on her role when contacted by The Mail on Sunday, on her website she describes herself as ‘personal adviser to Colin Firth’ for The King’s Speech.
She writes: ‘I have recently provided some consultancy to Colin Firth on the upcoming film The King’s Speech which deals in part with the terrible issues King George VI faced with a dreadful stutter and fear of public speaking.’
She adds that she was able to advise on the exercises the King would have done with Logue in his effort to lose the stammer, offering ‘tips about how such a coach may have worked’.
Kate, 49, is the second child of David and Shirley Firth, both of whom were university lecturers.
She originally followed her elder brother into acting, studying drama at university. Kate and Colin’s younger brother Jonathan is also an actor who has appeared in television programmes including Midsomer Murders.
After a stint acting with the Royal National Theatre, Kate gained a postgraduate diploma in Voice Studies from The Central School of Speech and Drama and a postgraduate certificate in Psychosynthesis Therapeutic Counselling.
Since 1996, she has worked as a voice coach on films and in theatre, and taught at drama schools including her alma mater The Central School of Speech and Drama and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Sister act: Colin Firth as a child with his sister Kate who helped him master his role
Mr Firth has said of her talents: ‘I have watched her repeatedly transform hopeless cases (my judgment, not hers) into brilliant communicators. The effect is quite jaw-dropping. But, perhaps even more remarkably, she also takes brilliant communicators and transforms them into slightly better ones.’
Kate, who like Logue is also trained in emotional therapy, focuses on the psychological reasons for problems with speech.
On her website, she says: ‘The voice is the bridge between our inner feeling, thinking world and the outer world into which we speak.’
Bonnie Hurran, a former colleague of Kate at the Bristol Old Vic, said: ‘She was our Head of Voice for the international students and it was a great piece of luck to have her.
‘I’ve never known a teacher like her. She brings so much out of her students because she combines the usual vocal exercises with a focus on the psychological links with the voice. She believes the voice is a mirror to the soul.
Tipped for Oscar success: Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter
‘She does an awful lot for the confidence of those she teaches, and helps their acting enormously by teaching them to express themselves fully.’
Mr Firth, who became a heart-throb when he played Mr Darcy in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride And Prejudice, has enjoyed a new level of success in his career since he starred as gay university professor George Falconer in A Single Man two years ago.
The part won him an Oscar nomination last year. He lost out to Jeff Bridges, but Mr Firth is widely expected to triumph this year.
‘Kate was very involved and sometimes came on set,’ said a source who worked on The King’s Speech.
‘She taught Colin some of the unconventional techniques which she uses in her sessions. Colin was hugely grateful for all the help she gave him.’
The King's Speech odds on for Oscar nod
By BAZ BAMIGBOYE
The King's Speech has dramatically increased its odds on winning the top Oscar.
The film which chronicles how George VI coped with a crippling speech impediment won the Producers Guild of America's best picture award.
It's a huge deal and of major significance because the past three winners of the PGA Award,The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country For Old Men, went onto take the Oscar for best film.
In fact seven out of the last ten PGA best film winners won the Oscar so the odds are in The King's Speech's favour.
What it also means is that the Oscar race became a real competition Saturday night.
Race heating up: The King's Speech has won the Producers Guild of America's best picture award
Up until now The Social Network had been winning every big film award going and had been widely tipped to take home the PGA trophy as well.
But all of a sudden The King's Speech emerged as the victor.
It will give the picture ,which stars Colin Firth ,Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, tremendous momentum, which till now had been going The Social Network's way.
Now attention will turn to the Oscar nominations being announced on Tuesday out of the headquarters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.
There will be ten best picture nominees and The King's Speech and The Social Network will most certainly be on that list.
Odds on: Seven out of the last ten PGA best film winners won the Oscar so the odds are in The King's Speech's favour, says Baz Bamigboye
Firth will land a best actor nomination and his portrait of George VI is the favourite to win.
Next Sunday will bring the Screen Actors Guild awards and both The King's Speech and The Social Network have their eye on the main trophy, the best ensemble.
If The King's Speech wins at SAG then we will witness a titanic struggle between The Social Network, backed by Sony which has spent millions campaigning, and The King's Speech, backed by the Weinstein company, which has run, hitherto, a much smaller operation.
Most of Hollywood's movers and shakers were in Park City, Utah for the annual Sundance Film Festival and there were exciting scenes on Main Street as executives from the Weinstein studio suddenly had something to celebrate and countless other film world folk debated the shifting dynamics of the awards season.
Competition: The Social Network, starring Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg, was widely tipped to take the plaudit
'It's a game changer, man', the head of one of Hollywood's top talent group's commented to the Daily Mail.
'People are still trying to work out what it means but the meaning is clear to me:it's not going to be a shoo-in for The Social Network anymore.
There was an almost arrogant assumption that the film ,which I like ,by the way, was going to waltz all the way to the Oscars and win best picture.
Now there's a race. And, baby, it's going to be a race like we haven't seen in years.
Acclaim: Firth is already frontrunner for Best Actor at this year's Oscars
'It's also gonna be fun ,and maybe a little brutal', said the agent, who did not want to be named because he has professional relationships with executives at both Sony and the Weinsten company.
'It's thrilling on many levels not least because no one expected The King's Speech to beat The Social Network at the Producers Guild of America.
'It makes it exciting and the juggernaut that is The Social Network has been slowed down', commented Xavier Marchand managing director of Momentum Films the company which released The Kings Speech in the UK.
Harvey Weinstein the mogul behind the film's US release did a little jig on Main Street when he heard.
The movie's three producers Iain Canning , Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin were on hand at the Beverly Hilton to accept the PGA award from, appropriately, Helen Mirren who played George VI's daughter in The Queen.
This week The King's Speech's UK takings will pass the £18.3 million Billy Elliot took , and the £20million taken by Calendar Girls and Shakespeare In Love.
As of close of play on Saturday night The King's Speech had taken £17.1 million in the UK alone.
The King's Speech has, as they say in Hollywood, legs.
In the US The King's Speech has taken some $60 million and could top the $100 million mark by Oscar night late next month.