Oscar nominations: David Seidler on 'King's Speech' producer Harvey Weinstein -- 'We need him in the industry'
Screenwriter David Seidler’s ears are stuffed up. On Tuesday morning, when he was nominated for best original screenplay for "The King’s Speech," he’s speaking over the phone from New York. But last night, he was in Las Vegas doing PR for the film -- and Monday morning he was in San Diego for the same reason.
“It’s strange -- I’m a bit frazzled," he said. "On the other hand, it’s very, very exciting. And anyone who’s in the industry, who’s honest, admits that they’ve dreamed about this. And suddenly -- there it is, it’s real. My first [award] on this scale.”
Seidler can’t help but take note that "The King’s Speech" seems to be generating a little more heat with the motion picture academy than it did at the Golden Globes, which bestowed its top honor on Facebook drama "The Social Network." And he has definite opinions as to why.
“I really think the academy members, they’re such a large group that they’re hard to corral and sway one way or another. They’re going to be more independently minded because of their size. The other groups -- except for the Producers Guild -- were all critics, and the critics want to look like they’re hip and cool. And 'The Social Network' had positioned itself that way, and we were regarded as more -- well, not as hip and cool. The academy, they simply vote according to their instincts and what moved them. And I hear from academy members that they were very emotionally moved. And that’s helped us a great deal.”
Interestingly, Seidler’s favorite part of the film is the only one he did not write verbatim; it’s the scene where Colin Firth’s King George VI is telling a bedtime story to his two princesses. “That’s not the story I wrote in the script!” Seidler says. “The story I wrote in the script was one my father always told me. I didn’t see the scene until I saw the rough cut [of the film] in London, and my heart sank. But I calmed down and watched it and realized it’s an absolutely beautiful and touching scene. It worked out very, very well.”
Perhaps that’s because Seidler has great faith in Firth as an actor -- as well as producer Harvey Weinstein. “Harvey has really good taste. He knows what to look for; he has a good idea of what people will want. And we need him in the industry to get films like this made, films that might have trouble getting made elsewhere."
Seidler admits to being more than a little nervous about the big day -- it will be his first time ever attending the Oscars. “I’ve always been at home with my family raiding the refrigerator,” he says. But again, he says he’ll follow Weinstein’s lead. “I assume Harvey has a lot of experience with the Oscars and he’ll fill me in.”
Next up, Seidler is working on a film with Gareth Unwin (a producer on "The King’s Speech")."It’s about a female 'Lawrence of Arabia,' "Seidler says. “A Laura of Arabia!” he laughs, still reveling in the good mood that’s taken hold of his morning.
-- Deborah Vankin
Photo: David Seidler arrives at a screening of "The King's Speech" in November 2010. Credit: Matt Sayles/Associated Press