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The Journey: Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness movie to be screened at Toronto International Film Festival

By Jonny Bell

Published 27/07/2016

How actor Timothy Spall could look in his role as Ian Paisley
How actor Timothy Spall could look in his role as Ian Paisley
A scene from the new movie The Journey, starring Timothy Spall as Ian Paisley and Colm Meaney as Martin McGuinness
Chuckle Brothers: Ian Paisley with Martin McGuinness, the dream team as First Minister and Deputy First Minister
Colm Meaney to play Martin McGuinness

The film telling the story of the unlikely friendship between the late Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness is to be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Staring Timothy Spall as First Minister Paisley and Colm Meaney as his counterpart Martin McGuinness, the film tells the story of how the one-time enemies came together to herald the beginning of a new power-sharing agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland.

Set before the 2006 St Andrews Agreement the two are forced to take a short journey together in which they will take the biggest leap of faith and change the course of history.

More: 'I've high hopes for my Paisley and McGuinness film... some will love it and others will just hate it'

Toby Stephens plays prime minister Tony Blair while Freddie Highmore is cast as Jack, a young government employee tasked with driving Paisley and McGuinness on their journey.

Oscar-nominated John Hurt stars as Harry, an accomplished veteran political fixer overseeing the St Andrews Agreement.

The film, a fictional account of the time, is directed by Belfast-born Nick Hamm and written by acclaimed Co Down author Colin Bateman. Production begin in September last year in parts of Northern Ireland and Scotland.

More: Eileen Paisley: 'I can't wait to see the film about Ian... I'm sure they'll do an excellent job'

Bateman took to Facebook to announce the film has been selected for the Toronto International Film Festival.

The festival is in its 41st year and will show almost 400 films between September 8 and 18. It is widely regarded as the kick-off for the Hollywood awards season.

It is one of the most prestigious events on the film festival calendar with hundreds of thousands of people regularly attending. It has been touted as being "only second to the Cannes film festival". 

Chariots of Fire, The King's Speech and Argo, are among its most notable films to have had their screening debut at the event.

The Journey will feature as part of the festival's special presentations.

More: The Journey: Picture of Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney as first ministers gets mixed reaction

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