A £12 MILLION movie about the true story of a Scottish prisoner of war and his journey to confront his captors is due to start filming in Scotland this weekend, with Oscar-winning stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman playing the lead roles.
The Railway Man, based on the life and book of Eric Lomax, will begin its shoot in and around Edinburgh on Monday, before moving to Thailand in May and Australia in June.
The film, which has been funded by £300,000 from Creative Scotland, also stars Jeremy Irvine as the young Lomax, who was one of thousands of Allied prisoners forced to work on the construction of the Thai /Burma railway during the Second World War by the Japanese.
The movie’s script has been adapted by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson from Eric Lomax’s own book, The Railway Man.
Mr Lomax dealt for many years with psychological anguish from his treatment at the hands of the Japanese army, but with the help of a wartime colleague, Mr Lomax’s wife, Patti set up a mission back to the Bridge on the River Kwai where Eric would confront his tormentor, Nagase.
On Friday, both Firth, who plays the older Mr Lomax, and Kidman, who plays Patti, will be in Edinburgh at a press conference to mark the beginning of filming.
The movie, to be directed by Jonathan Teplitzy, is the biggest to be shot in Scotland since Brad Pitt’s World War Z and Cloud Atlas were shot in and around Glasgow last year.
Mr Lomax, now 92, originally from Edinburgh, was a signals officer when he was captured after the fall of Singapore in 1941. He was used as part of the slave labour force to build the infamous Death Railway.
Mr Lomax was tortured because his captors suspected him of drawing maps and keeping radios.
Evetually, as as form of dealing with his past, he sought out Takashi Nagase, the Japanese soldier who had acted as interpreter at the River Kwai prison camp.
The Railway Man, published 1995, has sold half-a-million copies worldwide, and has been translated into several languages, including Japanese.
Both Firth and Irvine have visited the former Strathclyde University lecturer at his Berwick home.
Mrs Lomax, a former nurse, has previously said she is “very flattered” to be portrayed on screen by the Australian actress.
Paterson has previously helped produce Hilary and Jackie and Restoration. He runs Archer Street Films with his partners, the director Anand Tucker and writer Frank Cottrell Boyce.
He once said, in an interview with Variety, of The Railway Man: “Without a doubt, it’s the best story I’ve ever been told.
“When a story won’t let you go, it’s a very good signal that you should find a way to make it. It will look like a $5m film, but will cost less than half that,” he added.
“What we do as independent producers is take hugely ambitious projects and find clever ways of making them for much less than it looks like.”