Why Paul Bettany Passed On Colin Firth’s Oscar-Nominated ‘King’s Speech’ Role

British actor Paul Bettany regrets not taking Colin Firth’s Oscar-nominated role in “The King’s Speech.”

Screenwriter David Seidler has said he wrote the screenplay — also nominated — with Bettany in mind for the role of King George VI, with Oscar-nominated Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist.

In an interview at the Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday, shortly after it was announced that the film had received 12 Oscar nominations, Bettany explained what he regrets most about not accepting the role:

“Number one, of course, it is a regret not to be working with such great, and really great people, Geoffrey Rush and (director) Tom Hooper.

“I think it is a little inelegant for me to discuss it,” continued Bettany. “I had been working for five months steadily and my son missed me and I missed my son. Both of my sons and my wife,” explained the actor, referring to his work on “The Tourist” as Inspector John Acheson. Bettany is married to actress Jennifer Connelly and they have two sons together.

“Do I regret it?” said Bettany. “I regret not working with such amazing, amazing actors and directors and writers. But no, I have to do the right thing by my family every time.”

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