WHAT DO Woody Harrelson, Idris Elba and Olivia Colman have in common? Other than being pretty talented actors with Oscar and Emmy noms to their names, of course. When they’re not making us laugh or cry on screen, the trio are using their Hollywood power to shine a light on climate change.
Harrelson previously narrated Netflix’s optimistic Kiss the Ground doco, Elba and his wife Sabrina are ambassadors for the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Colman recently petitioned the UK Government to stop deep sea mining. All pretty impactful stuff, right? Impactful enough to capture the attention of the King.
They all star in a new short film, titled The King’s Speech, to launch King Charles III’s environmental YouTube channel RE:TV. Released today, RE:TV was founded by Charles in 2020 and has since created more than 100 short films about the effects of global warming. Today marks its online expansion to YouTube — RE:TV previously launched on platforms including Bloomberg and Amazon Prime — where it’ll debut its content directly online to showcase “sustainable solutions to the climate and biodiversity crisis,” according to the King. Colman, who played the Queen in The Crown, alongside Harrelson, Elba and even Glenn Close have all leant their charming voices to the short film — alongside 14 other notable change-makers.
As the name suggests, The King’s Speech will reference some of Charles’ most historic environmental campaigns and speeches — including his landmark speech given on February 19, 1970. At just 21 years old, Charles addressed the Countryside Steering Committee for Wales about the future catastrophe of plastic waste. The moment was later depicted during a season three episode of The Crown starring Josh O’Connor as the Prince of Wales. A trailer for the new film begins with a snippet of the King’s 2020 speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos where he met environmental activist Greta Thunberg — before morphing into Elba’s recognisably deep and honeyed tone.
“Global warming, climate change, the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats that humanity has ever faced and one largely of our own creation,” the king of the silver screen … and England recite almost in unison.
The clip is interspersed with footage showing some of the detrimental effects of climate change including drought and flooding and human activity such as deforestation and garbage — while presenting some of the most scenic spots across the UK including the glasshouses of Kew Gardens and ancient woodland of Burnham Beeches. As the clip concludes, a video of the King from 2020 can be heard saying: “There is real hope, but we’ve just got to get our act together.”
While Elba didn’t mix the score for The King’s Speech — little-known fact: he started out as a music producer — perhaps, he’ll sample the King’s voice for his next (environmental) hit? The pair actually go way back, with Elba crediting Charles for kick-starting his career when he was awarded the Prince’s Trust at 18 years old. He even DJ’ed at his son Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s highly-publicised wedding at Windsor in 2018 — a role he took super seriously.