Actor laments turning down Colin Firth’s Oscar-tipped lead role in The King’s Speech

ACTOR Paul Bettany, who grew up in Brookmans Park, has spoken of his “regret” at turning down the Oscar-tipped lead role in The King’s Speech.

Bettany appears as Inspector John Acheson, alongside Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in action thriller The Tourist, which is set for a Blu-ray and DVD release in April.

The A-Lister moved to Brookmans Park as a nine-year-old when his dad taught at Brookmans Park’s Queenswood School.

He is famed for taking varied roles, appearing in such diverse films as The Da Vinci Code and A Beautiful Mind.

But he turned down the role of King George VI in blockbuster The King’s Speech because his family missed him.

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He said: “Of course it’s a regret to not be working with such great, really great, people; Geoffrey Rush [and] Tom Hooper.

“I think it’s a little inelegant for me to discuss it.

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“I had been working for five months solidly and my son – both my sons – and my wife missed me.”

He added: “I regret not working with such amazing, amazing actors and directors and writers, but I have to do the right thing by my family every time.”

Bettany’s replacement, Colin Firth, has been tipped to win best actor at this month’s Academy Awards after scooping a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for the role.

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