Paul Bettany Initially Wanted for ‘King’s Speech’ Lead?

Paul Bettany

Can you imagine anyone else in the lead role of King George VI in The King’s Speech besides the fantastic Colin Firth? We certainly can’t but the American screenwriter behind Tom Hooper‘s BAFTA-nominated film, David Seidler, had someone else in mind …at first.

“When I initially wrote the screenplay, I immediately had Geoffrey Rush in mind for [speech therapist] Lionel Logue, but I thought Paul Bettany would be the actor to play the king,” Seidler recently told The Daily Telegraph. “I was lucky that it was decided the role would go to Colin. As soon as he read for it, I knew he was perfect.”

Bettany over Firth? He’s a fine English actor, but I can’t picture him as King George VI. Can you?

Apparently, Hooper had his own personal pick as well: Hugh Grant. I can’t see that either.

This May, you can catch Bettany on the silver screen in Scott Charles Stewart‘s (Legion, The Upgrade) new sci-fi thriller Priest, where he plays a rebel priest looking to save his niece from a world of vampires. He’ll also star opposite fellow Brit Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey in October’s Margin Call.