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Colm Meaney to play Martin McGuinness in 'Chuckle Brothers' film

Colin Bateman written 'The Journey' to begin filming

Irish actor Colm Meaney is to play Martin McGuinness in a film about the Sinn Fein politician's unlikely friendship with the late Ian Paisley, it has been reported.

The actor, famed for his role in Star Trek, will play the deputy First Minister alongside Timothy Spall's Paisley, Deadline Hollywood has said.

Written by Co Down acclaimed author Colin Bateman, The Journey, is directed by Belfast born Nick Hamm.

Bateman said today: "So nearly there on casting for 'The Journey'..."

The fictional drama will chronicle the story of how the one-time enemies came together to herald the beginning of a new powersharing agreeement in Northern Ireland between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Filming is expected to begin in September in both Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The production is being funded by IM Global and Northern Ireland Screen.

Paisley, who died in September 2014 aged 88, was famous as a firebrand preacher and hardline unionist politician, while McGuinness (65) had made the transition from IRA leader to senior republican politician.

Yet in the end, they found common ground and made history by entering government together.

What was even more unexpected was the genuine bond that formed between the two - a camaraderie that led some at Stormont to dub the pair 'The Chuckle Brothers'.

Spall garnered rave reviews for playing former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in The King's Speech and earned a best actor prize at Cannes last year for his spellbinding portrayal of painter JMW Turner in Mike Leigh's Mr Turner.

Dubliner Meaney, 62, broke into the American scene through appearances in the Star Trek franchise before starring in blockbusters Con Air with Nicolas Cage and Law Abiding Citizen with Gerard Butler.

He also starred in hit Irish film The Commitments.

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