Monday 26 September 2016

Timothy Spall plays Ian Paisley in film with Colm Meaney as Martin McGuinness

Published 05/10/2015 | 14:06

Timothy Spall as Ian Paisley and Colm Meany as Martin McGuinness in The Journey, a new film charting the unlikely friendship between them both.
Timothy Spall as Ian Paisley and Colm Meany as Martin McGuinness in The Journey, a new film charting the unlikely friendship between them both.

Filming has started in Northern Ireland on a new work charting the unlikely friendship between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.

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Some of the first scenes shot in The Journey show the uncanny resemblance of big screen actors Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney to the region's political titans.

Spall puts on a convincing portrayal of the late Northern Ireland first minister and Democratic Unionist leader.

His head bent forward, and with broad shoulders under a tightly fixed gaze, he conjures the unmistakable posture of the former firebrand preacher turned power-sharing peacemaker.

Meaney as deputy First Minister McGuinness pulls off the ex-IRA commander's furrowed brow and unflinching demeanour, not to mention their matching curly hair.

Written by novelist and screenwriter Colin Bateman, the film centres on a fictional journey by one-time sworn enemies Paisley and McGuinness during a pivotal era in the peace process.

McGuinness once commanded the IRA in his native Derry and faced implacable opposition from the man at times dubbed Dr No and whose best known phrase was "never, never, never".

But Paisley eventually said yes - to sharing power with Sinn Fein in 2007 - and ushered in what some characterised as a groundbreaking moment in British and Irish history.

The DUP leader became first minister with Mr McGuinness as his deputy.

Their burgeoning friendship was evident at the many public functions which they attended together, leading to them being dubbed the "Chuckle Brothers".

Filming is taking place in and around Belfast.

Toby Stephens plays prime minister Tony Blair while Freddie Highmore is cast as Jack, a young government employee tasked with driving Paisley and McGuinness on their journey.

Oscar-nominated John Hurt stars as Harry, an accomplished veteran political fixer overseeing the St Andrews Agreement.

Press Association

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