By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 2, 2009 at 9:13AM
Signaling that it is in the hunt and willing to pay for projects, The Weinstein Co. has pre-bought various international and North American rights to The King's Speech, Tom Hooper's biopic about King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth II), who suffered from a severe stammer. Geoffrey Rush plays the man who helps the king take control of his speech. The See-Saw Films and Bedlam production is set to start shooting later this year; the Weinstein Co. is slating it for 2010 release. Firth and Rush co-starred in the Weinsteins' Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love.
Most recently, Hooper (John Adams, Elizabeth I ) directed The Damned United, starring Michael Sheen as a volatile soccer coach, set for fall release by Sony Pictures Classics.