Australian-UK co-production The Railway Man will reunite actor Colin Firth with producer Andy Paterson after almost 10 years.
Firth, best known for winning an Academy Award for his portrayal of King George VI in The King’s Speech, last worked with Paterson on Girl With A Pearl Earring in 2003. The film received several gongs and nods on the circuit, mainly for cinematography (Eduardo Serra).
Since 2003, the UK-based Paterson has produced three films – Beyond the Sea (2004), Incendiary (2008) and last year’s dark tale Burning Man. The latter’s director – Jonathan Teplitzky – will also be reunited with Paterson on The Railway Man and will sit in the director’s chair.
“Jonathan’s a great guy and he’s perfect for it – he brings a kind of perception and energy to the whole project which is very exciting,” said Australian producer Chris Brown, who is undertaking producing duties alongside Paterson and Bill Curbishley.
Brown, who just got back from Thailand after doing a location recce, said the script had been in development for a number of years. Paterson joined screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (24 Hour Party People) to help write the script – based on Eric Lomax’s book of the same name – about two years ago.
The Pictures In Paradise/Archer Street production follows a man's experience as a prisoner of war, working the Japanese line from Thailand to Burma during World War II and his mission decades later to seek revenge on his tormentor.
War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine and Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz also star in the film, which is expected to start shooting in late-April/early-May.
The 10-week shoot will start in Thailand (for about a week) before moving on to the UK and Australia. In local circles, it will be shot in Queensland, with filming taking place in both Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The film was financed by Screen Australia and Screen Queensland, with the major investor being Latitude Media.
Transmission will distribute the film in Australia and New Zealand, while Lionsgate secured UK distribution rights. Lionsgate will also handle international sales.
The film marks the latest Australian-UK co-production. Last year’s Oranges and Sunshine was the third biggest local hit at the box office, grossing almost $4 million in Australia.