Jeremy Irons to star in new film about St Columba
Nov 8 2009 Mike Merritt, Sunday Mail
OSCAR winner Jeremy Irons is to star in a major new movie about the saint who brought Christianity to Scotland.
The film on the life of St Columba by Shadowlands director Norman Stone will be shot either in Northern Ireland or the west of Scotland.
Producers are also in talks with another A-list Hollywood star said to be interested in the project - but Jeremy is already signed up to play the saint, who came to Scotland from Ireland.
Bafta-winner Stone, whose films include Florence Nightingale and CS Lewis - Beyond Narnia, said: "Jeremy is perfect for the role. He is fascinated by Columba, especially given his Irish ancestry and connections.
"He just can't wait to get started. This will be a wartsand-all portrayal.
"I see Columba as a man of incredible faith, integrity and strength - but at times flawed.
"He struggled with hunger for power. He was cunning, brave and an independent spirit which sometimes he found difficult to fit into his holy orders.
"But he was a gifted man who changed the religious and social map of Scotland and Britain.
"He was not a saintly saint and this film will be more of a character study and a political thriller than a Christian epic.
"Columba will not wear a halo. It needs big-screen treatment and in Jeremy we have the right person to deliver the performance we are looking for."
The movie, The End Time, will be shot either in the spring or autumn of next year, with screening six months later.
Jeremy, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for Reversal Of Fortune in 1990, worked with Stone on BBC drama The Dream in 1993.
A source close to the actor said: "He is delighted to be involved and looking forward to working with Norman."
Columba arrived in Scotland from Ireland and established a monastery on the island of Iona in 563AD.
He began converting the pagan Scots to Christianity and built several churches across the Outer Hebrides before his death at the age of 75. He is buried in Iona Abbey.
For more information on St Columba, visit Wikipedia.
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