Paul Bettany Passed On ‘King’s Speech’ For Family But Still Has Regrets

Paul Bettany says he passed on the lead role in The King’s Speech in order to spend time with his family, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have regrets. In an interview Tuesday, shortly after it was announced that the film had received 12 Oscar nominations, Bettany explained his decision.

“I think it is a little inelegant for me to discuss it,” he said. “I had been working for five months steadily and my son missed me and I missed my son. Both of my sons and my wife.” Bettany and his wife, actress Jennifer Connelly, have two sons – 7-year-old Stellan and Jennifer’s 13-year-old son Kai from a previous relationship. The couple are expecting a third child later this year.

Colin Firth has earned a ‘Best Actor’ Academy Award nomination for the part that screenwriter David Seidler had originally envisioned for Bettany.

“Do I regret it?” the actor said of his decision to pass on The King’s Speech role. “I regret not working with such amazing, amazing actors and directors and writers. But no, I have to do the right thing by my family every time.”

Filed under: Celebrity Dads,Celebrity Kids,Jennifer Connelly,Paul Bettany

Photo credit: Pacific Coast News

  • edeilo

    I am kind of glad he did pass it up. Colin Firth was beyond amazing.

  • Kim

    The only reason the movie has received 12 Oscar nominations is because Colin Firth was so wonderful in the lead role!!

    • mslewis

      EXACTLY!!! I think the movie would have been god-awful with Bettany in the role. Unfortunately, he has been typecast into the role of “weirdo, white-face-dude” and playing the King of England would not have worked. The producers got it right. Colin Firth is perfection in this part as he is in EVERY part he has ever played. The same cannot be said for Bettany and, personally, I think he is embarrassing himself by bringing up the fact that he turned down the part.

      P.S.: Why would his son miss him? Just pack the wife and kids up and take them with you. It can be done!!

  • Cabos

    Interesting how no one bashes him for calling Kai his son. If this was Gisele Bunchen, there would already be around 20 comments going at her for saying something similar.

    I love Bethany, don’t get me wrong. I’m just making the comparison.

    • not a fan of the brazilian supermodel

      maybe because people think she’s an annoying, man-stealing home wrecker.

    • Shirilicious

      Maybe it’s because Kai has been living with Paul under one roof for a decade now. He’s the one who, with Jennifer, is raising this kid. And judging by the wording, I’d say Paul is aware that there a another dad in the picture. How different that sounds from Sanctymommy’s “100% mine” thing.

  • Annika

    I think it is beautiful, that he preferred being with his family than making a movie again after 5 months of being apart. What a lovely family man, I applaud him for his decision.

  • Elizabeth

    Colin Firth was wonderful and deserves all the accolades being thrown his way but that in no way proves that Paul Bettany would not have been equally amazing albeit in a different way. Bettany has given beautiful, nuanced performances in a number of films including ‘The Heart of Me.’ And, he actually looks much more like George VII than Colin Firth does. It doesn’t take anything away from Firth’s performance (and I’m rooting for him to win the Oscar) to allow that another actor might also have been quite moving in the role.

    • rose

      Well, that really is hypothetical. Paul Bettany is not a bad actor, so it might have been like you said, but then on the other hand Colin Firth is just on a different level and I do find it a little bad taste on Paul Bettany’s side to discuss it (but then he was probably asked about it by the interviewer).

      And it’s interesting how he first talks about “his (one) son” and then adds, almost nervously, as it seems, “both my sons”… 😉

  • lis

    It’s true, it’s quite unelegant of him to be saying this…
    It’s nice he puts his family first. But when was the last time he was in a ood movie? It’s a shame because he is a good actor.

  • Stacey

    The reason he brought it up is because the writer of the film made headlines for saying that he had Paul in mind while he was writing it. They asked Paul about it on the press line. He didn’t just bring it up out of nowhere. I think Paul’s a great actor but would have been much better suited looks wise for the role of the King’s older brother who abdicated the throne. Paul is too tall and blond, the King was short and dark in contrast to his Aryan looking older brother. But I applaud him for spending time with his adorable family. He has his priorities straight.

  • Anonymous

    Paul said it was “inelegant” of him to discuss it. He was classy about it and the writer brought it up on the internet and the news so Paul had to respond to it when asked. You can’t just pick up the family and move when they are in school. You have to take other things into consideration. You obviously don’t have children or a spouse.

  • Anonymous

    Say what you will about Paul making a bad decision in turning down the role (he looks more like the King than Firth, by the way), he is happily married and has another child on the way. People complain about actors putting their careers ahead of family and he made sure it didn’t. Connelly and him have been married for over eight years (a lifetime in Hollywood) and it’s probably because of their choice to put their careers on hold for a while to spend time together that it has lasted. Hind sight is always 20/20 but i think he would rather have a happy family than accolades over his acting. One day the right role will come around for him and he will get those as well.

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