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Paul Bettany Was First Choice for 'The King's Speech'

January 20, 2011, 2:42 am GMT

Instead of Colin Firth, screenwriter David Seidler had Paul Bettany in his mind when thinking about who would be perfect to play King George VI.

Paul Bettany

Colin Firth nearly missed out on his role in acclaimed new movie "The King's Speech" as Paul Bettany was the first choice to play the stuttering British monarch. Firth won a Golden Globe at the weekend, January 16 for his portrayal of King George VI in the film, which has won numerous awards nominations and is tipped for success at the upcoming Oscars.

He is widely expected to win his first Academy Award for the role, but the part would have gone to another British actor if screenwriter David Seidler had his way. Seidler tells New York Post gossip column Page Six, "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."

"I wanted Paul, but 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."

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