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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
"The King's Speech"
Aired February 17, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: It's the movie that everyone is talking about this award season.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEOFFREY RUSH, "THE KING'S SPEECH": What will I call you?
COLIN FIRTH, "THE KING'S SPEECH": Your royal highness.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: "The King's Speech" has picked up two big SAG awards and 12 nominations for the biggest prize of all, the Oscar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Colin Firth in "The King's Speech." Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech."
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Everybody wants to talk to the cast and tonight I've got them. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. The royal family of actors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIRTH: I love the label. I mean, wonderful. Absolutely wear that on a t-shirt.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: My guest tonight is Colin Firth, the star of the Oscar potential winning "King's Speech." To give you some idea if you haven't watched that film, here's a little clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIRTH: Listen to me.
RUSH: Listen to you? By what right?
FIRTH: By divine right if you must. I'm your king. RUSH: No, you're not. You told me so yourself. You said you didn't want it. Why should I waste my time listening?
FIRTH: Because I have a right. I have a voice.
RUSH: Yes, you do.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Colin, the great irony of that clip is of course is that you don't have a voice tonight.
MORGAN: You have got a --
FIRTH: A touch of -- onset of puberty I think.
MORGAN: Is this, do you think, the greatest role of your career? I know it's always hard to choose like choosing a favorite baby. Do you think it is?
FIRTH: That will have to be for others to decide or for me to decide when I'm so old that I'm other -- it'll be in knotting away trying to grasp at any memories I have dictating my memoirs. It may be the one that sticks out. I mean "Single Man" for me personally would have to come very close, as well.
MORGAN: Obviously, the whole issue of George VI, I understand, I mean even a lot of Brits that I know don't know much about the story. We all obviously know the Queen Mother and what happened to her. He's remained this sort of enigmatic figure that - we're sort of aware of without really being aware of.
You brought it to public consciousness. What did you think of Bertie, of King George VI?
FIRTH: I found the most -- I fell in love with him completely. I thought he was the most adorable, admirable, fascinating -- I love hidden glorious and secret heroes. You know I'm not very interested in people with super powers.
This man -- it was kind of an athletic feat just to get to the end of a sentence and I think he played probably a much more important role than people give him credit for.
MORGAN: Well, he had this crippling stammer, which meant that when we he tried to address the nation, it was almost torturous to listen to. I've actually heard some of the real footage of King George VI, and it's painful listening, isn't it?
FIRTH: It is. I mean a lot of what we hear now -- I mean a lot of the surviving recordings are much later on, I mean, certainly after he met his speech therapist. And some of them sound like he's doing pretty well and there are moments.
I mean, Tom Hooper and I watched some old film footage of him in 1938 addressing a large crowd and it was heartbreaking. I mean you can see him struggling with the muscles in his face and his neck, and whatever's going on is like there's a boxing match going on inside his body.
MORGAN: Do you have weird moments now when you're kind of -- I can't imagine you're in a supermarket much anymore, Colin, but if you are in a supermarket --
FIRTH: You don't know my wife.
FIRTH: We spend a lot of time --
MORGAN: Very lovely. She is, too.
MORGAN: When you're in the supermarket, and you're trying to order something, do you lapse into Bertie, just start stammering because you just got so used to that voice?
FIRTH: When I'm in a supermarket, yes. We all stammered actually. It's bizarre how contagious stammer is. You can notice (INAUDIBLE) even if start to talk about it, the words are going to get completely backwards. But Tom Hooper started to stammer when he was giving us notes. It would sometimes take him half an hour just to say what he meant.
What's happened to me in the supermarket most of the time is people are saying, Piers Morgan, can I get your autograph?
MORGAN: I get this. I'm more flattered than you are, obviously.
FIRTH: No, come on, really.
MORGAN: No, no. Colin, really. No, no. I'm more flattered. It plays very well for me, though.
FIRTH: Listen, it plays well for me. This has probably served half of my career. The Morgan factor.
MORGAN: "Town and Country" magazine, to my utter delight, had you and I both down in this top 101 people that you must meet in 2011.
FIRTH: Aren't we both lucky?
MORGAN: Well, I thought I was lucky. I discovered that I was at 66 and you rolled in at 33.
FIRTH: Bloody hell. MORGAN: At which point --
FIRTH: Numeric could very precise about --
MORGAN: Well, it meant that people -- 50 percent keener to meet you this year than they are me. Quite hurtful.
FIRTH: Keep retesting that.
MORGAN: As a fellow Brit, you and I know probably how difficult it is to succeed in America, not many British people, any serve entertainment do. You have emerged as -- for want of a better description the new David Niven. You know you've taken over Hugh Grant's mantle. You're now this debonair, charming British man that every American woman falls in love with.
FIRTH: I love the label. I mean wonderful. Absolutely wear that on a t-shirt. David Niven, I think, is one of the great movie stars.
MORGAN: So do I.
FIRTH: And I just -- any comparison to him I would just welcome and sit there and laugh it up. I'd like to think it's true. I'm not sure it is. I mean I think that --
MORGAN: Do you quite like the fact of having been Darcy and having been in "Bridget Jones'" stuff where you play the classic archetype of charmer that the last two great roles you've had, "Single Man" and "King's Speech," you're not actually playing that kind of character?
FIRTH: I do relish that. I mean you know this character quite -- leaving aside the speech problem, he's a damaged soul and whether it's because of the speech problem, whatever, the character as written in our script is somebody who's got a huge number of demons. That's very interesting work for me.
MORGAN: You prefer it as an actor?
FIRTH: Of course. Yes. It's wonderful hunting ground. I mean that's what we get our teeth into.
MORGAN: I mean, no disrespect. You just turned 50. I'm not sure how long you can play out that Darcy stuff.
FIRTH: I'm not trying to play it out.
MORGAN: I know.
FIRTH: Come after me. It's either Darcy or Piers Morgan or whatever, it's impossible to escape. But no, it's -- that's where the rich pickings are, you know. It's people with problems are far more interesting. If you don't have any problems, you're bland. And you know --
MORGAN: I've always detected, you feel slightly uncomfortable being a sex symbol. You've never felt as easy with that part as you want to. I mean I'd love it if I ever have that role.
FIRTH: If I could truly believe it, I would be so comfortable with it. It's not like a vanity at all.
MORGAN: You should believe it. I get women telling me when they think I'm Colin, wow, you're sexy. I've loved all your films.
FIRTH: These things have a shelf life. I mean I think you've just got to know when you so gracefully like hang up a mantle and trade it for another and Darcy was 15 years ago. And funnily enough, I mean, for about five or six hours of Darcy, he was anything but a charmer.
This was a kind of strange character intuitive thing. I thought I was playing this unlikable person in literature, you know, who alienates absolutely everybody. And yet, somehow, this sort of, you know, the -- I mean, certainly not the David Niven part in that film.
MORGAN: Your wife Olivia, who I've had the pleasure of meeting once or twice at red carpet, is absolutely radiantly beautiful, far too good for you, I might add. But she's described your relationship as -- she's the ball breaker and you're the brains. So I thought it was a wonderful description of a relationship.
FIRTH: I think I'm afraid she's the ball breaker and the brains. Didn't quite --
MORGAN: And the beauty.
MORGAN: But where does that leave you?
FIRTH: Leave me taking out the trash.
MORGAN: Is she amused by your sex symbol image?
FIRTH: Yes. I mean even that's probably sort of out of date. The amusement. It was disbelief at first. Because I was in Italy when the "Pride and Prejudice" thing happened. And none of us -- I hadn't seen it.
MORGAN: She's Italian, of course?
FIRTH: She's Italian.
FIRTH: We've met in Colombia.
MORGAN: How's your Italian?
FIRTH: (Speaking in foreign language)
MORGAN: (Speaking in foreign language)
FIRTH: (Speaking in foreign language). I can tell you don't speak Italian.
MORGAN: I can't. That's about all I know.
FIRTH: But that is a very, very good bluff. No. They just sort of thought, well, why -- is this repressionist? Is that sexy for the British people or something? Do you think all -- you know, do you find John Major sexy?
MORGAN: Not personally, no. They have learned to love you, her family. I was reading recently. It was when you appear at the Venice Film Festival, they suddenly realized wow, OK. Now he means something.
FIRTH: No. It wasn't. I mean that would have meant waiting 15 years to love me. No. They warmed up. I mean, taking a stab at their language, you know, I had to do an awful lot to convince them that I was good material for their daughter. Because I had a lot of strikes against me. I was 10 years older nearly, English, didn't speak the language. Already had a child. I was an actor.
I mean, the list really does get very, very bad --
FIRTH: So I had to fix the language. It was one thing I could deal with and, you know, gradually -- it's nothing like, you know, communicating with people in their own tongue.
MORGAN: When we come back, what's the biggest turkey?
FIRTH: We don't go there.
MORGAN: We do.
FIRTH: No, you go there.
FIRTH: I'd love to go there. What's the one that you wake up in the middle of the night and think, thank god I didn't make that film, oh, hang on, I did?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Ricky Gervais.
MORGAN (voice-over): In Hollywood, the award season starts with the Golden Globes. It's the party of the year. And this year Colin Firth had good reason to celebrate. He took home the award for Best Actor in a Drama for the role as a stuttering King George VI in "The King's Speech," and managed to make it through his own speech without a hitch.
FIRTH: He's put me in really improbable number of good films and as we've had 20 years together which is not bad going for a showbiz marriage so thank you, Harvey.
MORGAN: And he took the walk to the podium once again at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards.
FIRTH: At the heart of it all as always would be my constant and beautiful fellow traveler Olivia. Thank you very much.
MORGAN: It wasn't his first time at the party. He was nominated last year for his role in Tom Ford's "A Single Man."
FIRTH: What's to stop me now? It's not like he's going to kill me.
MORGAN: That role also gave him his very first Oscar nomination. He's nominated again this year and insiders are calling him a front runner for his magnificent performance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE KING'S SPEECH")
RUSH: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
FIRTH: My physician said it relaxes the throat.
RUSH: They're idiots.
FIRTH: They've all been knighted.
RUSH: Makes it official then.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Also official is his status as a red carpet sex symbol. Not a role that he wears comfortably. But having his wife by his side makes this reluctant star feel more at home.
MORGAN: What was the secret of a -- of a Hollywood marriage? Which is unfortunately where you've now found yourself where you are a superstar actor whether you like it or not. You're getting that kind of acclaim and attention, an Oscar build-up and then it gets worse. How do you keep it? Any kind of normality in that relationship? FIRTH: You know, I -- we've made it 15 years together. I think that's pretty good going. But you -- you know, by Hollywood standards. And --
FIRTH: It's going to go on forever. And you just -- it's just -- you navigate things on a daily basis. We are crazy about each other. Children. We're very committed on a daily basis to how we'll deal with our family lives. Time -- we have to make sure that we spend enough time together.
You know, it's -- every relationship in life is if you're going to take care of it, there's a marathon factor and --
MORGAN: How do you avoid the shallow pitfalls of temptation like a thrown Hollywood heartthrob away?
FIRTH: It does help to actually realize that however stunning the person who's, you know, fluttering eyelashes at you is she doesn't do anything to match up to your wife. I mean, it is just -- maybe shallow of me to have a wife that's so beautiful but it's a very -- it actually makes things easier.
MORGAN: Well, she is -- I mean --
FIRTH: She's the most beautiful woman in the world.
MORGAN: Pretty much.
FIRTH: That's how -- that's how I deal with it.
MORGAN: After my wife. I've got to say that.
FIRTH: You actually --
MORGAN: I'll be in big trouble if I start agreeing with you on that.
FIRTH: I sat up with your wife yesterday.
MORGAN: I know you did.
What about your kids? When they grow up, I know you're a private guy. And you don't really talk about them much, but as they get older, your children, would it unnerve you if they wanted to go into acting?
FIRTH: Oh, yes. But I mean one's slightly unnerved watching your children make their way anyway, and yes, it's a precarious business but I think everything is precarious now, frankly. It doesn't amuse me but I'm struck by memories of my father saying, you know, if you did good, invest and you got this -- you've that training and then you've got a steady job, you could have that as a backup, and all those ideas of security -- my father was a university lecturer.
And whole generation of being made redundant when he was about 55 and you know notions of security, I have actually -- I've had a career which is probably no less secure than his turned out to be.
MORGAN: What would he have made of your success?
FIRTH: Well, he's still around. When I said was, it means he's retired. He loves it. I mean it did wonders for my relationship with him because he didn't know any actors, he didn't know the world of cinema and theater very much. So he saw -- quite rightly saw my acting dreams as a way of getting out of math class and, you know, as -- having an excuse to be bad at that stuff.
When it actually delivered and I got a job, he was thrilled not just -- not because I was successful but just because I was involved in something. I was applying myself. I was happy. This was work now. And not just some fantasy.
MORGAN: You've made over 30 films now.
FIRTH: Have I?
MORGAN: Apparently. So it's a lot of work, Colin.
MORGAN: What's the biggest turkey?
FIRTH: We don't go there.
MORGAN: We do.
FIRTH: No, you go there.
MORGAN: I'd love to go there.
MORGAN: What's the one that you wake up in the middle of the night and think, thank god I didn't make that film. Oh, hang on, I did.
FIRTH: There are a few.
MORGAN: What's the worst?
FIRTH: We can't, you see.
MORGAN: Why not?
FIRTH: Because -- MORGAN: Well, I can't. We isn't really relevant there.
FIRTH: No -- exactly. I mean you can go through them and I'll keep my best poker face if you like. No, because the --
MORGAN: Like a whirlwind (ph), you just had to pretend it isn't happening.
FIRTH: It's not because I'm crazy about them. I mean -- you know, off the record we're going to have a beer and I'll take you through them and you'll hear -- no uncertain terms about it. A wailing and gnashing of teeth but -- no. The trouble is people I like that were involved.
There have been collaborators and colleagues and producers and fellow actors, and if you get into the business of pointing a finger at a film and saying, that's a pile of old crap, and you have 50 people who've -- were invested in it as well, you know, we're all going down together.
MORGAN: You costarred with Renee Zellweger, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Scarlet Johansson.
FIRTH: It's amazing, isn't it?
MORGAN: Spectacular. If you were going to be trap with one of those on a desert island --
FIRTH: Can I have all of them?
MORGAN: You can have two. Renee, Meryl, Emma, Scarlet. --
FIRTH: I can't.
MORGAN: Let's sprung Helena in there.
FIRTH: Yes. And bring Helena -- we can talk about Helen McDonald, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon.
MORGAN: How does Olivia make out with this? Does she mind?
FIRTH: She tends to get on with them very well with more, you know?
MORGAN: Do you like to do love scenes?
FIRTH: I like the idea of them.
MORGAN: So do I. Love to do love scenes.
MORGAN: What's the worst thing that can happen in your career?
FIRTH: Do you think no one would notice if you stepped in as a body double? MORGAN: This is what I'm thinking.
MORGAN: If you were uncomfortable, I could probably step in.
FIRTH: We can come to an arrangement.
MORGAN: I mean is it fun or is it like the old piece there's always cameras, and can't enjoy it? I can't imagine it isn't slightly good fun.
FIRTH: Listen. It's as fun as it -- imagine how much fun it is to get your -- I mean you're surrounded by hardware and always (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Yes, yes.
FIRTH: How much fun would it be for you however beautiful the woman was --
MORGAN: Scarlet Johansson is lying there, I could probably deal with a few cameras. If I like the cameras there to record the moment.
FIRTH: You've got -- you have got a point --
FIRTH: Yes, you have a good point. I am -- you know -- it's a very odd experience to say the least. I mean, I remember somebody saying to me, an old veteran of these things before I'd ever done a love scene, that you will only enjoy love scenes -- erotically you will enjoy a love scene if you, A, have an extraordinary capacity to shut out the witnesses. Mentally. Or you enjoy the witnesses. And there's the only two circumstances on which it can actually be, you know, exciting.
MORGAN: And you have avoided the issue of what Olivia thinks. I mean can any wife enjoy watching their beloved husband romping with Scarlet Johansson?
FIRTH: I doubt it. I doubt whether it's a great pleasure. I don't know. I mean it --
MORGAN: I couldn't watch my wife do that.
FIRTH: You do just get on with it. It's one of those things that -- there's a bit of a baptism of fire if you get to drama school and you start breaking the taboos and doing things that you would otherwise not comfortable with. MORGAN: If Olivia took up acting and suddenly she was jumping into bed with Brad Pitt.
FIRTH: I didn't marry an actress. I mean it's --
MORGAN: If she did -- have a career transformation.
FIRTH: I would be very unhappy about it. It's as simple as that.
MORGAN: In the "King's Speech" you get to spend a lot of time with Geoffrey Rush and we're about to be joined by Geoffrey who's -- by some a remote satellite in Australia. Some ungodly hour. But if you were to introduce him yourself, how would you describe him?
FIRTH: I would describe him as my geisha girl.
FIRTH: And he's actually I think one of the most thrilling actors I have ever worked with and I have seen him be howlingly funny and absolutely heartbreaking. He's got that whole spectrum covered. And the sheer joy of working with him on the set kept us buoyant.
You know it was a freezing cold set and a very, very difficult script to give any authenticity to, so we were -- we were constantly battling things but Geoffrey's sort of -- I don't know. He just had the most fantastic sense of humor and kept things alive so it's just driving an energy I think which was the spine of the film.
MORGAN: When come back, what Colin Firth and co-star Geoffrey Rush really think of today's royals.
MORGAN (voice-over): Audiences love to hate Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush as the evil Captain Barbossa in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN")
RUSH: And an (INAUDIBLE) is not how they come, the question is, what will we do?
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: But for now it's all about "The King's Speech" where Geoffrey plays the king's friend and speech therapist to perfection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE KING'S SPEECH")
RUSH: Jack and Jill --
FIRTH: Went up the hill. RUSH: Went up the hill. Little Tommy tin.
FIRTH: Done. Mark.
RUSH: And up comes the royal highness.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Geoffrey was more than just one of the stars of the film. He also executive produced it. He and Colin made movie magic 12 years ago in the Oscar-winning "Shakespeare in Love," but it was the independent film "Shine" that won Rush Oscar gold in 1996.
In addition to the Oscar, the Australian-born actor earned himself an Emmy, a Tony, two Golden Globes and three SAG Awards, including one for Best Performance by an Ensemble Cast for "The King's Speech."
RUSH: It shouldn't be called the SAG Award. It should be called the uplifting award but --
MORGAN: And we're joined by Geoffrey Rush in Australia.
Geoffrey -- that is you, Geoffrey, is it? Where is your hair?
RUSH: Oh, I'm doing a film about Humpty Dumpty down here. This is the look I should go for.
FIRTH: Geoffrey and I both promised not to wear our wigs for this interview.
MORGAN: Geoffrey, let me ask you, in terms of your relationship on screen in this movie with Colin, people are talking about it as one of the great bro-mances we've ever seen in the movies.
How would you describe your relationship with Colin?
RUSH: Well, we --
RUSH: We have been texting one another at various points to try to keep sane about the madness that's gone on around the film, and we do tend to refer to each other as (INAUDIBLE) or Thelma and Louise. We -- so far we haven't come up with that many male relationships which is a bit frightening.
MORGAN: Can I ask you both, actually? Colin, I'll ask you first. Are you actually a monarchist? Do you believe in the royal family?
FIRTH: Oh. I think they seem very nice. MORGAN: Colin. That is not an answer.
FIRTH: You know, I -- I love this character and I'm very drawn to everybody I have become familiar with in my imagination the royal family. I don't know any of them.
MORGAN: Have you met any of them?
FIRTH: I have briefly met Prince Charles and I think he's a very, very interesting, very civil and civilized person. I think the stuff he's doing at High Grove with the organic farming and all that is very admirable. I think he's very courageous. And I'm (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Do you think the institution is a good one?
FIRTH: I like really voting. You know, that's one of my favorite things. And --
MORGAN: Unelected institution isn't really your cup of tea?
FIRTH: It is a problem for me, yes. I don't like to (INAUDIBLE), yes.
MORGAN: Geoffrey, what about you? Obviously you're playing the therapist in this, not a member of the royal family. Are you a monarchist? Australia has been going through a pretty republican phase in the last few years.
RUSH: Yes. Look. I'm deeply fascinated by the whole history and heritage of the monarchy as a kind of massive historical soap opera. They've been very good to me because I've done just the most recent "Pirate" film in the UK, and the wonderful Richard Dreyfus is playing George II, and my character Barbossa has gone over and is working as his assistant.
And with (INAUDIBLE), with Queen Elizabeth I and then with Colin as George VI, the royals have been very good for my career.
MORGAN: That's not quite the same as saying you support the monarchy as an institution, Geoffrey.
FIRTH: They're very good for all our careers. I mean, you know, there wouldn't be "Shakespeare" without kings and queens. You know? It's half the drama of history is centered around royal life because I think, you know, the stakes are very high in that arena.
RUSH: Oh, no, I was going to say I do find -- you know, I do find that history terribly, terribly fascinating and the fact that in the past whole eras have been named after various monarchs, you know, Victoria was on the throne for 60-plus years or whatever, but I suppose being an Australian, you know, we still have the current Queen Elizabeth II as our head of state, and I think we probably should cut the apron strings and not in a rude way. I think there will always be an honoring of that bond from the past but I think it's time that we became -- took our own sort of adult steps.
MORGAN: So basically what you're both telling me is that you may be both starring in the biggest royal film of the year but you'd like them taken to the tower and off with their heads?
RUSH: No. No, not quite.
MORGAN: Well, I don't understand obviously. But let's move on to the more gripping power play here, I think, which is that you're both up for Oscars. And depending on which magazine or newspaper you read, the odds on either of you seem to be shifting on a daily basis. Have you had a private bet between each other as to who may actually walk away with the old statue?
FIRTH: I'll let that one drift over to Australia.
RUSH: I think Helena Bonham Carter will get it, and Colin and I won't, and will be furious.
MORGAN: Is it just bloody nerve wrecking, the Oscars? Is there anything quite like it in the movie world? Geoffrey -- you have won, Geoffrey. Is it as nerve wrecking as I imagine it would be?
RUSH: It's a post modernist experience I think, Piers. Because you have seen other people. You know, you know what happens. My greatest memory of walking up to receive the statue in '97 was in my brain I could see the Arthur Murray footsteps marked out taking me up to the podium. Because I'd seen other people do it on television.
So you're sort of -- you're sort of preprogrammed in. Everyone -- and I think, you know, there are probably only remote tribes in New Guinea that won't know about this ritual.
MORGAN: Next, one of Hollywood's kookiest stars on playing the world's favorite royal, the queen mother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH: I'm just saying you could be king. You could do it.
FIRTH: That is treason.
RUSH: I'm trying to get you to realize you needn't be governed by fear.
FIRTH: I have had enough of this.
RUSH: What are you so afraid of?
FIRTH: Your poisonous words.
RUSH: Why did you come to me? So you'd only keep hiding behind your stammer and losing your rag every time --
FIRTH: Oh, don't attempt to instruct me on my duties. I am the son of a -- king.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We're going to be very joined very shortly, Colin, by your other costar, Helena Bonham Carter, who is in London. Before we do that, Geoffrey, I know you are still with us. I wanted to ask you, you were the executive producer of this show. You sat on this amazing film for quite some time.
What was Colin like to work for, in terms of him working to you as a producer?
RUSH: That -- that credit, I think, is more on the creative side. I had been sent the script as a play script a couple of years ago, and went in to bat for its development to become a screenplay through my agent in L.A. So I wasn't really involved with the financing and working out how much money we could scrape together to give -- throw Colin's way.
MORGAN: So you didn't get into any tawdry negotiation over his salary? That's what I was really hoping for.
FIRTH: He doesn't even know how much I was paid.
RUSH: It's a four-figure sum, Colin. It will be a common --
MORGAN: I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Helena, who's in London. Helena, welcome. How are you?
HELENA BONHAM CARTER, ACTRESS: Very well. How are you?
MORGAN: I'm very well. You played the queen mother. Did you ever meet the queen mother?
CARTER: Yeah, I did, actually, when I was very, very young, a long, long time ago, at the premier of "A Room With a View. So when I was about 18 and she was, you know, in her late '80s. I can't really remember.
But yeah, no, I did meet her. And she was exactly what you think you'd -- she was an expert public figure. That's what I gather. It's quite difficult playing the queen mom because everybody has -- she's such an iconic figure. She also lasted a really long time. So if you read any of the biographies, which I did, they're really, really thick. So there's quite a lot to get through.
But there was a responsibility probably unlike Colin and Geoffrey, who had really frankly the easy jobs.
MORGAN: Of course.
CARTER: I had to -- you know, I was playing somebody -- the only one that was probably recognizable. So I -- and you can't exactly phone up the daughter and say tell me more, because all I had was like a veneer. And then I sort of -- it was my job to get a bit underneath it.
MORGAN: I met the queen mother. A, she was absolutely tiny, I mean, like four foot ten or something. Minute.
MORGAN: She was 99 years old. But she was as smart as anyone I have met. She was super confident. She gave me a good kicking over a various stories I'd been publishing as an editor, which I took like a man. But later I heard her explain to somebody the mystique of being the queen mother and the secret to her longevity in terms of public affection was that she believed in never explaining, never complaining and definitely never being heard speaking in public.
CARTER: That's really interesting. I should have phoned you up before I played her.
MORGAN: Well, it's a complete opposite to most everything --
CARTER: She did speak. You know what was really difficult, because I did want to find her speaking. And it was a very difficult to find. It was a very, very brief interview towards the end of her life, when she was talking about the castle in May. And I sort of replayed and played.
She did make a speech. She made a few speeches during the war. But it didn't really give, because it was a very public front. I just wanted to get some kind of rhythm of her.
But those are really wise things that she said. I mean, she was a canny and very, very expert public figure. I think she was as good and as well equipped to be public as he wasn't.
MORGAN: I agree. As the rose between two thorns in this particular interview, what were they like, these two, to work for? The two heavily-ego'd movie stars?
CARTER: They talk a lot. I mean, they talk a lot, both of them. Little known, but Colin had to overcome a compulsive talking disorder in order to play -- to play Bertie. But you know what? I stayed well in the background.
It was obviously a bromance. I thought OK, let them get on with it. It was only when Geoffrey left that Colin actually noticed me. I was sort of wabbling around in the background. FIRTH: Nonsense.
CARTER: But, you know, I was basically irrelevant until Geoffrey left. And then suddenly, it was like, oh, who are you?
FIRTH: You wouldn't notice her, would you? Just look there.
MORGAN: I think I would take notice of her.
CARTER: But no, you know, they're --
FIRTH: We adored you. You were absolutely bang in the middle of the love triangle with Tom, Geoffrey and me. We were embracing you.
CARTER: It was a threesome, was it? You see -- now you tell me. I wish I had more with Geoffrey. Geoffrey and me -- I mean, I had lots of stuff to do with Colin on the whole. But I wish I had more with Geoffrey. We had the first day and that was it. I wish we had done more.
MORGAN: Helena, if I was to put to you a choice of threesomes of you, your brilliant husband, Tim Burton, and your favorite co-star, Johnny Depp, or this particular threesome, presumably it wouldn't take you long to decide which one you prefer?
CARTER: Can I do a six-some? You know, I'm married to him and want a job from both. You know -- no, I want another job from the husband, but, you know -- and Colin and Geoffrey -- although, in his position as a producer -- no, you know what?
They were a laugh. What's great about Colin and Geoffrey -- although it's very difficult to actually compliment them when they're listening. But they're really -- they're not only unbelievably bright, much brighter than me, but -- and brainy, and they're so rigorous and they're really hard working.
MORGAN: Coming up, Geoffrey and Helena pass judgment on Colin Firth's singing talent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: My husband is -- well, he's required to speak publicly.
MORGAN (voice-over): Behind every great woman, there's usually an even better woman. And Helena Bonham Carter plays the woman behind Colin Firth's King George VI. She burst on to the scene in "A Room With a View," and earned an Oscar nomination for "the Wings of the Dove."
Since then, she scored big with "Sweeney Todd." CARTER: She poisoned herself. Arsenic.
MORGAN: "Alice in Wonderland."
CARTER: -- almost as much as I love caviar.
MORGAN: And the Harry Potter films, as Bellatrix Lestrange.
CARTER: Pity, pity, Harry Potter.
MORGAN: She filmed her role in the latest Potter film at the same time she was playing the queen mother in "The King's Speech."
CARTER: And what if my husband were the Duke of York?
RUSH: Duke of York?
CARTER: Yes, the Duke of York.
RUSH: I thought the appointment was for Johnson. Forgive me, your --
CARTER: Royal highness.
RUSH: Royal Highness.
CARTER: Johnson was used during the Great War when the Navy didn't want the enemy to know he was aboard.
RUSH: Am I considered the enemy?
CARTER: You will be if you remain unobliging.
MORGAN: The stars of "The King's Speech" are Oscar bound for a film that's all about courage, friendship and loyalty.
Well, we're about to test that friendship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Have you heard Colin singing in "Mamma Mia?"
MORGAN: I'm glad you said that. Have you, Geoffrey?
CARTER: But then ask him. He's probably heard me. But I think Geoffrey's probably the best out of the three of us. We could do a musical.
MORGAN: I have a better idea, actually.
CARTER: "The King's Speech" as a musical.
MORGAN: I have a better idea, which is that obviously in my other role as a talent show judge in -- CARTER: "Britain's Got Talent."
MORGAN: Yes, exactly, and "America's Got Talent." We thought it might be quite fun to appoint you and Geoffrey temporary talent show judges, and to play a clip of Colin singing.
FIRTH: For heaven's sake.
MORGAN: -- in all his majesty in "Mamma Mia," and then to get your withering verdicts on this. So if you would both just --
CARTER: All right. We are trying to get him nominated.
MORGAN: What are your early thoughts, Helena?
CARTER: Don't know. Actually, you know what? I think -- I wouldn't have done the beat. I'm enjoying listening to it. It could be my ringtone.
MORGAN: Geoffrey, I hope you're going to be rather more critical.
RUSH: I wish I could have been seen the visuals with that. Because --
CARTER: I know. I didn't see any visuals.
RUSH: -- like Helena was singing there for a moment.
MORGAN: He looked like something out of Shirley Valentine, to be honest with you, singing like Susan Boyle.
FIRTH: You can be thankful you were spared the visuals. I would have liked to have been spared the audio, as well, frankly. I mean, I've actually -- Helena, I don't know if you know this, but I'm doing an interview -- I'm doing a talk-a-thon with Piers here, having lost my voice, and I'm speaking anyway, which won't surprise you. I've lost my voice.
MORGAN: He's got laryngitis.
FIRTH: I've got laryngitis. I can't speak.
CARTER: When did you lose it? Has it really --
FIRTH: About 8:30 last night.
CARTER: That's very funny. How old are you now? Because he hasn't stopped talking for 50 years.
FIRTH: She's quite right. This is -- you know, Helena will be thinking there will be some sort of divine intervention here, with me losing my voice. I think people listening to that song, everybody will be saying, thank God. MORGAN: When we come back, Helena on Colin Firth's sex appeal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: You know, I refused your first two marriage proposals not because I didn't love you, but because I couldn't bear the ideal of a royal life. I couldn't bear the idea of a life of tours, of public duties, a life that was no longer really to be my own. But then I thought (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Helena, I need to ask you this. We were talking earlier to Colin about his sex symbol status. He was downplaying this. But what are your views on Colin Firth the sex symbol?
CARTER: I did fancy him in his uniform, with the medals. Do you remember that?
You like him as Darcy?
CARTER: Yeah, yeah, I did, I did. I did. Of course I did. I would be a fool not to.
MORGAN: You don't sound too seen on the latest version.
CARTER: No, no, no, I do. It's just that I'm a married woman, so I can't -- and I want a job from my husband. So, no, no, no, no. I did -- I definitely fancied him in his uniform. We didn't really get to snog. That was one sad thing.
FIRTH: Would you fancy Piers in the same uniform?
CARTER: No. I'm sorry, Piers. I'm not Susan Boyle. A lot of people fancy you, don't you? Have you ever had any -- have you ever fancied any of the contestants, Piers?
MORGAN: On the talent shows? I was very fond of Susan Boyle. I thought she had an unusual attraction, which I find very appealing.
CARTER: I'm glad.
CARTER: Because then -- yeah.
MORGAN: I said you should be pleased I'm attracted to the unusual look.
CARTER: I've got eyebrows. I think she was amazing. I was there -- well, I wasn't there, obviously. You were there when she started singing. It was truly magical.
You must have been -- what did it actually feel like?
MORGAN: To be at Susan Boyle's audition? That was one of the most extraordinary things I ever seen in my life.
CARTER: Wasn't it?
MORGAN: To see a woman come out who is a 48-year-old spinster in a tiny Scottish village, and everyone's laughing at here, and she's able to sing like Elaine Page, and we're all sniggering and everything else.
And then to watch her do what she did, and then to see this week I think in the American album charts, she's number one with her second album -- so two number one albums in America, out-selling Lady Gaga, is the kind of stuff of dreams. It's an amazing story.
CARTER: It is. It is. And given the song was "I Dreamed A Dream," it was magic. It was absolutely hair raising.
MORGAN: If Susan Boyle was here now Colin, singing "I Dreamed a Dream," would you dream involve the Academy Awards end of February, standing there clutching the gong, making the speech you've been preparing and practicing for probably 40 years?
FIRTH: You know, the thing that happens with this age -- this extraordinary advanced age I've reached is that it's not the long-term memory going. The short-term memory is beginning to wither a little bit. And any projection into the future is becoming impossible.
So all I think of now is how to get out of this interview unscathed. That's my dream. If there's a gong to be had tomorrow, then somebody hopefully will be able to tell me about that.
MORGAN: -- you will have received your star -- your Hollywood star. I mean, what a moment.
FIRTH: It is. It is a moment.
MORGAN: If you were to win an Oscar for this, would it be the great moment of your career? Is it the pinnacle?
FIRTH: I don't know how much one even really dares to contemplates dreams on that scale, really. No one would not love to win that statue, you know? Nobody. Even if you're not an actor, it's probably one of those things that would allow himself to dream about.
But whether one ever would dream about it in any way that's in any way real, that you would actually aim at, no, it's beyond my thinking, really.
MORGAN: Have you thought who you would dedicate it to, if anybody? Who will you be thinking of in that moment?
CARTER: Can I chip in here? FIRTH: Yeah, go on, darling.
CARTER: Me! Do you remember?
MORGAN: How could we forget?
CARTER: He couldn't have been king without her. So same, same. Yeah? Just remember, OK, short-term memory. I'll give you cue cards. If I don't get -- I'm sure I'll be on the sidelines somewhere supporting you, just remember.
FIRTH: Exactly. As Geoffrey said. I think this shoe should be on the other foot. We could be having a very different conversation here. Helena, it's Geoffrey and me.
MORGAN: Look, I want to wish all three of you the best of luck. I loved the film. I think it's one of the best I've seen in a long time. I think that all of you, in different ways, deserve great recognition in this awards season.
Thank you for coming here, Colin, being one of my first guests in the new sparkly studio. Thank you, Helena, down in London. And I want to thank Geoffrey for getting up such an early time in Australia. Geoffrey, thank you so much.
RUSH: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: And good luck to all three of you. I really hope it is crowning glory for you. It deserves it. Thank you, Colin.
FIRTH: Thank you very much.
CARTER: No, Colin's going to get it.