Swear-free King's Speech to get lower US rating

The King's Speech

The King's Speech is set to be released in the US in a swearing-free version to open it up to younger audiences, its director Tom Hooper has confirmed.

The film was given an R rating last year for the scene in which Colin Firth's character is encouraged by a speech therapist to swear to overcome a stammer.

The day before the Oscars, Hooper said the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) was willing to give the film a PG-13 rating if the audio of the swearing was dipped.

An R rating in the US means no-one under 17 is able to see the film without an adult.

"I'm certainly very unhappy that kids are discouraged from seeing it here. I think it's a film that touches on so many issues to do with childhood," Hooper said at the Independent Film Awards in Santa Monica, California on Saturday.

"Particularly, the film has the message 'please don't carry the trauma of childhood throughout your adult life'."

He said he thought children who had been through tough experiences, like bullying, would connect with the story of George VI's attempts to overcome his speech impediment.

"Unselfishly, I think if it brings the film to that younger audience it will be great because in the UK and Canada I've had a lot e-mails from eight and nine-year-olds who have been incredibly affected by it - so why would I want to limit it?"

In the UK, the film's original rating of 15 was changed to 12A by the British Board of Film Classification after an appeal by the film's UK distributors.

The BBFC said it had "applied its formal reconsideration process" and decided the language was not aggressive or directed at any person.

A similar appeal in the US last year to lower the film's R rating was not successful.

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