Scott Pelley Also Interviews the Film’s Best Actor-Nominated Star Colin Firth
(CBS.com) -- Film researchers for “The King’s Speech” were merely seeking old photos to get a character’s clothing right when they stumbled upon historical treasure. The trove of correspondence between England’s King George VI and the therapist who helped him overcome a stuttering problem provided crucial insights into the relationship at the core of the film that’s now nominated for 12 Oscars. Scott Pelley reports on the find and interviews the film’s best-actor nominated star, Colin Firth, for a 60 MINUTES story to be broadcast Sunday, February 20th at 6 p.m. on KMOV Channel 4.
King George VI’s terrible stuttering problem was a secret as well-kept as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s paralysis, so the film’s writer had practically no source material from which to draw his character’s central trait. Until he met Mark Logue. “I told them ‘Yeah, I’ve got some pictures. I’ve got some diaries, too,” recalls the grandson of Lionel Logue, the king’s speech therapist. In with the diaries up in the attic were more than 100 letters between his grandfather and the King of England. Logue reads from one, “‘My Dear Logue, thank you so much for sending me the books for my birthday, which are most acceptable.’
“That’s so British, isn’t it,” Logue tells Pelley. “It’s not the relationship between a doctor and his patient; it’s a relationship between friends.” The filmmakers learned from the correspondence and other material that the king came to Logue’s office for an hour every day, weekends included, in his initial efforts to address his problem. Logue says they also learned a crucial element. “Probably the most startling thing was the king’s appointment card, it described in detail the king’s stammer, which we hadn’t seen anywhere else,” says Logue. The material also helped them reconstruct the many therapy sessions that helped King George stop stuttering and make the important speeches he needed to deliver in his vital role as symbolic leader of England before and during WWII.
Says Firth, who may just win an Oscar for playing him, “It's a perfect storm of catastrophic misfortunes for a man who does not want the limelight…who does not want to expose this humiliating impediment that he's spent his life battling,” he says. “He's actually fighting his own private war. He'd rather have been facing machine gun fire than have to face the microphone,” Firth tells Pelley.