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Colin Firth: A Matter of History

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Sir Harold Evans, host with biographer Amanda Foreman, at a private luncheon on Monday could not resist mentioning the rare honor of being in a room with not only the dashing if shy "Mr. Darcy," but the stubborn "Elizabeth Bennett," memorable roles for Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, the fine actors who now share screen time in The King's Speech. If Mr. Darcy is every girl's crush, as played by Colin Firth, the fantasy increases exponentially. As the stuttering King George, father of the British queen, the actor is tall, handsome, and irresistible. He sweeps through award season, winning Best Actor accolades.

The event was not about heart throbs, but about history. Sir Harold remembered being a small boy glued to the radio in his air raid shelter, as were so many Brits, when Neville Chamberlain announced what the war meant to him, and when King George VI made the famed "king's speech." Firth emphasized the Aristotelian value of story-telling from the perspective of royalty, how the foibles of characters like Oedipus, Odysseus, and so on are human and moreso. Director Tom Hooper in the interest of research hoped he could have had tea with the queen to ask about her father; he joked at taking over the reign just to feel what that was like. Instead, he announced a valuable find, the diary of speech teacher Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) who brings about the king's epiphany.

So was attention paid to every historic detail and nuance?Not entirely, according to Winston Churchill's granddaughter, Edwina Sandys. She is married to Richard Kaplan, a New York raised architect who said his wife noted, the character playing her granddad was smoking a cigar as he walked through rooms at the palace. Her critique: Churchill would never have done that.

Ah, the day was young for Firth. Off to the next, the New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner at Crimson, Colin Firth would receive the Best Actor award presented by Stanley Tucci. Extolling the virtues and extraordinary talent of his friend, the New York actor quipped he finds him "irritating" and hopes he can grow up to be just like him. Gamely, Firth accepted his prize saying, that's why he loves New York, not the food, theater, but the critics

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