The comedy drama based on the unlikely relationship of the former DUP Leader Dr Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness is to beginning filming tomorrow (Wednesday).
‘The Journey’ – based on a screenplay by Divorcing Jack author Colin Bateman, from Bangor, County Down – will focus on the path to peace which saw the unlikely pairing, dubbed by some sections of the media and public alike as ‘The Chuckle Brothers’.
Dr Paisley, who was born in Armagh and founded the Free Presbyterian Church there, passed away last year. Northern Ireland’s First Minister in the power-sharing Assembly, Lord Bannside, as he became upon entering the House of Lords, received a visit from the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness shortly before he died.
The film will shoot at as yet undisclosed locations across Northern Ireland and Scotland.
It will feature Harry Potter star Timothy Spall as Dr Paisley, alongside Colm Meaney, the Dublin actor of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fame, as Mr McGuinness.
Screen legend Sir John Hurt – whose roles include John Merrick in The Elephant Man, and who also starred in BBC TV’s Merlin – takes on the role of the former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The Journey is in the safe hands of Belfast director Nick Hamm.
Writer Colin Bateman broke the news today, via Facebook, explaining how he got involved and how the movie was about to go on location.
“Just over a year ago, a call from my agent,” he states. “A director was looking for a writer for a proposed movie about the relationship between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, was I interested.
“She added that every other writer approached turned it down because, although it’s a great story, it seemed unlikely that anyone would invest millions required to bring the script to screen.
“The prospect of spending months on researching and writing a screenplay for something that wasn’t going to get made wasn’t exactly enticing.
“But I said yes, because I like to eat.”
He confirmed cameras will now begin rolling and filming will complete next year.
Writes Bateman: “Tomorrow, after an incredibly short and somewhat surreal development process, which has taken me from the New York penthouse of a Hollywood superstar to the Bogside Headquarters of Martin McGuinness, the cameras turn on ‘The Journey’.”
He says it is “hopefully coming to a cinema near you some time next year”.
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