Nicole is now in Edinburgh to start shooting a new movie, The Railway Man, and today attended a photocall in the Scottish city to mark the start of filming. To start with, I have posted (and back-dated) the original news release reporting Nicole’s involvement in this movie here – as you can see from the date she was first announced to be starring in the movie in early March. The photocall today was held at the Creative Scotland Offices in Edinburgh, and was attended by Nic, Colin Firth, Stellan SkarsgĂĄrd, Jeremy Irvine and director Jonathan Teplitzky. Nic looked smart in a black jumper and blazer, jeans, and black boots … almost matching her co-star Colin Firth!
Photos from the event can be seen in our Gallery, and read on further down this post for some interesting reports on today’s event and the story behind the film, including several quotes from Nic.
• “The Railway Man” Photocall x35
• “The Railway Man” Photocall – High Quality x22
Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth unveil The Railway Man
Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth have said they hope their new film about a soldierâ€™s battle to overcome his torture while a Japanese prisoner of war will increase public awareness of veteransâ€™ struggle to live normal lives.
The Oscar-winning actress and actor will shortly start filming The Railway Man, which tells the true story of how Eric Lomaxâ€™s wife helped him overcome the trauma he suffered in Burma during the Second World War.
Mrs Lomax set up a mission back to the Bridge on the River Kwai, where her husband confronted Nagase Takashi, the interpreter at his interrogations. The movie is based on a bestselling book of the same name he wrote about his experiences.
Miss Kidman, 44, said she was so moved by the story she instantly accepted the role but both she and Mr Firth emphasised its relevance to current events, with thousands of soldiers struggling to adapt on their return home from war.
Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh ahead of a two-month shoot in Scotland, he said: â€śWe do somehow see stories of what itâ€™s like coming home from a war but we very rarely see stories about what itâ€™s like decades later.
â€śThis isnâ€™t just a portrait of suffering. Itâ€™s a very, very specific story about how that kind of damage interacts with intimate relationships, with love.â€ť
He added: â€śI think with an experience that is so difficult to talk about for the veterans themselves, the way back into any kind of recognisable life is a tortuous one. People wonâ€™t understand even if you could talk to them.â€ť
Mr Firth said he had twice met Mr Lomax, who is now 92, and his wife, Patti, to discuss their experiences but was occasionally â€śoverwhelmed by the enormity of the story weâ€™re trying to tell in 90 minutes.â€ť
â€śTo meet Eric personally humanises it. I found it very valuable from that point of view. I think history as it moves forward seems to express a kind of indifference to what happened to you,â€ť the Kingâ€™s Speech actor said.
â€śHe comes from a generation where the facilities for managing that kind of trauma were not there. Much later on he did encounter ways of managing it and people who helped him but whatâ€™s astonishing to me is the number of years that went by where he just ploughed on.â€ť
Miss Kidman said she read a newspaper article the day after she agreed to take part in the movie about a woman falling in love with a solider who had just returned from Afghanistan and how they coped with him suffering blackouts and severe trauma.
â€śIt was basically about women who are married or in relationships with men who have come back from Afghanistan or Iraq right now and I thought thereâ€™s a sign that this is still incredibly relevant,â€ť she said.
â€śIt was very informative for helping to mould the character for me. I read it and I was moved. I am that spontaneous in my decisions. I just found the subject matter very moving and thatâ€™s what drew me to it â€“ the power of somebody loving someone through trauma. I find that appealing and I can relate to it.”
The Railway Man, directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, has a budget of around ÂŁ12 million and will shoot at locations around Edinburgh, in North Berwick and Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Mr Lomax, who comes from Edinburgh and lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed, was a lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals when he was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore in 1942.
Along with thousands of other prisoner-of-war, he was forced to work on the notorious Burma-Siam railway, which was the subject of David Leanâ€™s 1957 Oscar-winner The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Colin Firth ‘overwhelmed’ by new Second World War epic
Actor Colin Firth has said he felt “a little overwhelmed” by the enormity of the story to be told in his latest film The Railway Man.
The Oscar winning actor plays one of tens of thousands of Allied prisoners of war forced to work on the construction of the Burma Railway, also known as the “Death Railway”, during the Second World War.
Firth’s part is based on the true story of British Army officer Eric Lomax, who was sent to a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in 1942. The film will shed light on the horrific living and working conditions on the railway – it is estimated that around half of the 180,000 Asian labourers and about 16,000 Allied prisoners died during the construction.
The most famous portion of the railway is Bridge 277, which was famously the subject of David Lean’s classic 1052 war film The Bridge Over The River Kwai.
The Railway Man will focus on Lomax’s relationship with his wife Patti, played by Nicole Kidman, who he met years later when he was still haunted by memories of the torture.
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 for the role.
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.”
Firth suggested the character is a man who does not know where he is going as he deals with the emotional fall-out of his wartime experience.
He said: “He is looking for a way home that might be represented by Patti.”
Kidman is “polishing” her English accent to take on the role of Patti, who is English, and plans to meet her during shooting as she has not yet done so.
The Oscar winner is looking forward to rediscovering Scotland and Edinburgh during the shoot, having visited the country as a teenager.
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.
The film also features War Horse star Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgard, of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Japanese star Hiroyuki Sanada.
Asked how he felt to play the young Colin Firth in the film, Irvine replied: “You find yourself looking in the mirror going ‘Am I quite up to that?’ It is a great privilege to be working with actors like this.
“I’m so early in all this and still desperately trying to learn and use these people as role models.”
Shooting will take place at locations including Edinburgh and North Berwick.
Director Jonathan Teplitzky said it was important to film in Scotland.
“We are all captured by the story and Eric’s journey, and I think it’s a story that began here and, to a certain extent, we just wanted to honour that and capture the story of his journey.”
Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman aboard for second world war film The Railway Man
Filming set to begin on adaptation of Eric Lomax’s bestselling account of his experiences as a POW on the Burma railway
On two occasions in recent months, Colin Firth has met for lunch with an elderly couple from Berwick-upon-Tweed. The pair had a story to tell, one that Firth has struggled to comprehend.
In Edinburgh today the Oscar-winner spoke of his admiration for Eric Lomax, a survivor of the Burma railway, who he will play in the new film The Railway Man, alongside fellow Academy Award-winner Nicole Kidman as Lomax’s wife Patti.
The film, directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, starts filming in Scotland on Monday. It is based on Lomax’s book of the same name, which tells of his suffering as a young Scottish POW on the Burma railway and how, with the help of his wife, he travelled back to Asia to meet one of his torturers in an attempt let go of a lifetime of bitterness and hate.
Speaking at a press conference in the Scottish capital today alongside Kidman and co-stars Stellan SkarsgĂĄrd and Jeremy Irvine (who will play the young Lomax), Firth said he had been struck by the old soldier’s story and how it still has relevance today.
“Just about any era you could name could be held to be famous for its brutality and devilish tortures,” said Firth. “Sadly, I can’t envisage a time when it won’t be relevant. I think what is not often addressed is the effect over time. We do sometimes see stories about what it’s like coming home from war, we very rarely see stories about what it’s like decades later. This is not just a portrait of suffering. It’s about relationshipsâ€¦ how that damage interacts with intimate relationships, with love.”
Lomax, now 92, was in his early 20s when he was captured during in fall of Singapore in 1942 and was transported to Thailand to work on the notorious railway. When guards discovered a radio he had helped make to bring news to the inmates, he was interrogated and tortured.
“He was horribly punished,” said producer and co-writer Andy Paterson. “You are left after that messed up for many, many years. Then decades later he got on a train and met a beautiful woman who made him laugh for the first time and she had the strength to try and find out what was happening to him.”
Paterson first read Lomax’s book more than 13 years ago and knew it was a film he wanted to make. “It’s a story that will never let you go.” He was introduced to Bill Curbishley, manager of The Who, who owned the rights to Lomax’s books, but the story’s epic scale and their plan to follow the structure of the book exactly was difficult to fund.
A reshaping of the story to highlight the role of Patti Lomax proved more attractive. Teplitzky was signed to the project, and the script was sent to Firth, fresh from The King’s Speech, who loved it.
Firth said it was important to him that he meet Eric and Patti Lomax before he started preparing for the role. “They are both incredibly engaging,” he said. “He’s incredibly approachable, as much as a person can be on a subject like that. He is 92 and not really demonstrating that at all. He is mentally far more agile than I am. I have to keep up with him really. He has a tremendous sense of humour that can be a little dark at times. I found him nothing but a delight and you do feel a little overwhelmed by the enormity of the story you are trying to tell.”
Kidman has yet to meet Patti Lomax, but will spend some time with her during the shoot. “I wanted to form the character first and then meet her, so I was not trying to force myself into being her,” she said. “I have to find my own way.”
Like Firth, Kidman had been struck by the story when she was sent the script. “I just found the subject matter very moving, that’s what drew me to it and the power of somebody loving someone through trauma. I found that inspiring and I can relate to it.” The day after she signed up for the film she read an article in an American newspaper about a woman falling in love with a man who had just returned from Afghanistan. “I thought, there’s a sign that this is still incredibly relevant.”
It is not Kidman’s first visit to Scotland. She revealed at the press conference that she had visited the country as a teenager and had taken a road trip with her then boyfriend as far north as Ullapool.
The film is a joint UK and Australian production, backed by, among others, Creative Scotland and Lionsgate UK, who will be releasing the film in the UK. The 10-week shoot will move from Scotland to Thailand in late May and then Australia in early June.
Andy Paterson said there had been some qualms among the Japanese acting community when it came to casting the roles of the Japanese soldiers. “The initial reaction to a film about the Burma railway was that people were scared of it and ran away from it,” he said. “But when we said it’s the Railway Man, the actors turned around and said we would be honoured to be part of that story.”
Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said the project was a great boost to the creative community in Scotland. “We invest in films for different reasons, because there’s a story about Scotland, because there’s a Scottish writer involved, because there are locations in Scotland or because it provides talent opportunities for our people within the film industry,” he said. “A project like the Railway Man, an international film of great standing does all of these things. It is a really great project for us in Scotland.”
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