Belfast Telegraph

Maze escape movie hits delay in filming until next year

By Alison Fleming

Filming on a controversial new movie on the notorious 1983 Maze prison escape has been postponed until next year with the availability of leading stars in doubt, it's been reported.

H-Block tells the story of how 38 republican inmates fled the maximum security facility in the biggest prison breakout in British history.

Warder James Ferris died of a heart attack after being stabbed by fleeing prisoners, while two others were shot but survived.

Nineteen inmates were recaptured within a short period. Among the escapees was Old Bailey bomber, now Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly, who wrote a book about it.

The movie, which has received funding from the Irish Film Board, is set to be directed by six-times Oscar nominated director Jim Sheridan, but the Irish Times is reporting delays in cast schedules and financing are behind a decision to push filming back until spring 2018.

Cillian Murphy has been cast as the head of the ring of IRA prisoners, while Co Down man Jamie Dornan will play a violent prisoner who starts discovering weaknesses in the prison. It's understood Pierce Brosnan is in talks to play the warden of the facility who is pitted against the escapees. Sheridan told the Irish Times production would start in March next year, as that is the earliest Brosnan would be available.

However, Murphy is likely to be shooting BBC series Peaky Blinders that month, casting doubt on his participation, with Sheridan quoted as saying: "He's not out. I don't know if he's in."

News of the movie's production drew criticism from unionists when it was revealed earlier this year.

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