Armagh actor Colin Morgan’s big screen debut ‘Testament of Youth’ will gets its UK-wide release this Friday – and it’s already knocking the critics for six!
Not just that, it’s the first of two big movie outings (to date!!) scheduled for 2015 for the young city star, whom the Daily Mail have dubbed ‘The new Cumberbatch’!
Colin, whose remarkable career the good people of County Armagh have been following with a vested interest, shines in this lavish retelling of Vera Brittain’s stark memoir.
The young Armagh man, who shot to fame as the eponymous Merlin in the BBC TV flagship show, plays Victor Richardson, in what has been described as a story of love, war and remembrance set during World War One.
Victor is best friends with Edward Brittain, brother of Vera (Alicia Vikander), on whose life story it is based.
The true and historic tale revolves around the young Vera’s life, where she turned her back on a scholarship to study at Oxford and, instead, became a nurse during the First World War.
It is very much a coming of age tale and, as Colin says, it was an “eye opener” to be involved in bringing it to the big screen.
With the public school life about which the central characters revolve, Colin says, at the time, there was in that era “a pressure and a conditioning and a breeding to be part of that scene and the heroics”.
Here were these people, on the ‘cusp of life’ – a Testament to Youth.
Said Colin: “It’s hard for people of our generation now to connect with that and to understand what it is to put so much trust into something like serving your country, something which you from a young age were conditioned to believe was so comforting and that something that you could absolutely believe in could betray you so badly.”
It was also a daunting task and a lot of weight to carry on one’s shoulders in portraying real events and people.
As Colin reflected: “There’s a real sense of duty, there’s a real sense of honour and pride, whenever you are representing someone’s life. There’s no way they would have thought something like this was going to happen so there’s a sense that you then have to do them proud.”
The film is directed by Yorkshireman James Kent, whom Colin describes as being “very passionate and very sensitive” in bringing the story to life.
It is a movie that has left an indelible mark on the rising star.
Added Colin: “To have seen those young happy boys marching off to war and coming back incomplete is really harrowing and it’s really heart-breaking as well. It just didn’t occur to them that that would happen.
“The film does pull no punches in that way. It’s a story that touches on every generation and I think any gender and I think any age.
“For me it’s been a real eye-opener, not knowing much about that period. Again it can feel a bit lost to us.
“I think it’s important to keep that alive, that these are people we can all be inspired by.
“I don’t think we realise how easy we have it.”
Colin, who has also starred in the home-grown hit The Fall, can be seen later this year in a new eight-part TV series ‘Humans’, which is being co-produced by Channel 4 and the US cable network AMC.
The 28-year-old, who attended the Integrated College in Dungannon, will play Leo, a young man on the run, in this futuristic show, which revolves around ‘Synths’, robot-like humans who act as servants.
Another big screen movie coming shortly is ‘Legend’, which is in post-production, and is based on the life of the 1950s East End gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray.
Testament of Youth opens this Friday, January 16. It is rated 12A and lasts 129 minutes. Among those screening will be the Omniplex in Newry (8.50pm) and Lisburn (2.10pm, 5.10pm, 8.05pm and 10.45pm). Sadly there is no scheduled showings as yet in Armagh
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