I was overwhelmed by story of Railway Man, says Firth of his new war movie with Kidman

Lucinda Cameron

ACTOR Colin Firth has said he felt "a little overwhelmed" by the enormity of the story in his latest film The Railway Man.

The Oscar winner plays Eric Lomax, one of thousands of Allied prisoners of war forced to work on the construction of the Thai/Burma railway during World War II.

Years later, still haunted by memories of the torture and brutality he endured, he meets the beautiful Patti, played by Nicole Kidman, who tries to help him.

Shooting begins on April 30 in Scotland, where Lomax was from, and will later move to Thailand and Queensland, Australia.

Firth has met Eric and Patti Lomax twice, and said the meetings helped prepare him.

He said: "They are both incredibly engaging and made me feel very welcome.

"I found them both a delight, though I did feel at times a little overwhelmed by the enormity of the story.

"It was important to me to meet them, it focused me and it was something that was very sobering, but also the story is such a big one and about a generation prior to my own, it can feel a bit abstract, a little bit out of reach, but to meet Eric personalised it and humanised it."

Kidman is "polishing" her English accent to take on the role of Patti.

The Oscar winner is looking forward to rediscovering Scotland and Edinburgh during the shoot, having visited the country as a teenager on holidays.

She said: "I did a road trip with a boyfriend when I was 18, so it has been a while, but I went all the way up to Ullapool in the Highlands.

"The great thing about being an actress is you get to live in a city for a certain amount of time, so that's what I look forward to.

"I've heard there's some great restaurants, so I will be out and about, though we're working six days a week."

The film also features War Horse star Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgard, of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo fame, and Japanese star Hiroyuki Sanada.