Colin Firth suffers from “appalling” stage fright.
The ‘King’s Speech’ actor – who stars as King George VI, a famous stutterer in the Top Hooper-directed project – reveals the last time he starred in the Donmar Warehouse Theatre in ‘Three Days of Rain’ he locked himself in the toilet to get over his nerves.
Discussing the similarities between him and the former British monarch, Firth said: “Yes I do suffer from those fears and I had appalling stage fright the last time I went on stage. We’d only had two weeks rehearsal, hadn’t had a proper dress rehearsal, we were at the Donmar, there were no prompters, and I had to open with a two-page monologue.
“I locked myself in the toilet before the performance. I wasn’t planning to stay there, I just thought, take a deep breath and remember your first line, and I couldn’t.”
However, when he decided to leave the bathroom and get some air, he found himself locked out of the Covent Garden-based theatre.
He said: “I thought: ‘I need some air,’ and there isn’t any air at the Donmar. So I went out of the fire door which closed behind me, five minutes before curtain up. So I had to go round the front, through the audience - the very people I was terrified of.”
Unlike King George – whose stammer is the subject of the movie – Firth has found he can turn his tension into a positive thing.
He said: “I think there is this mixture of this tension which can be debilitating and then there is the one that, God willing, you can convert."