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Firth and Ehle reunite for 'Speech'

By KAREN BUTLER   |   Jan. 21, 2011 at 9:21 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- "The King's Speech" director Tom Hooper admits casting actress Jennifer Ehle in a supporting role opposite star Colin Firth was a wink to fans of their iconic 1995 British miniseries "Pride and Prejudice."

Firth and Ehle played reluctant lovers Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in the wildly popular, small-screen adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. They also enjoyed a brief off-screen romance, as well, but have since gone on to marry other people.

In "Speech," Firth plays Britain's King George VI and Ehle portrays the wife of the speech therapist who helps him overcome a career-crippling stammer.

"We were so lucky to get a double Tony Award-winning actress to play what was pretty much a supporting role and she's wonderful," Hooper told UPI in New York about casting Ehle. "I don't know. Did I think about the 'Pride and Prejudice' thing? There's probably a mischievous part of me that did."

"We had one brief second together," Firth said of working with Ehle again.

"It was lovely to see her," he recalled. "We've always remained amicable and friendly since we last met, but we just lost touch. She's had her family since and so have I, so our lives have gone in completely different directions and I find it extraordinary that we haven't overlapped before, actually.

"But I met her in rehearsals very briefly because we just don't have the scenes together, and she had a lovely little baby with her, and it was very nice. We had five minutes to catch up and that was it; she had to run off and catch a plane."

Firth this month won the Critics' Choice and Golden Globe awards for Best Actor for his work in "The King's Speech." The film is in theaters.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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