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Sir John Hurt being lined up for role in new Paisley film

By Jonny Bell

Sir John Hurt is the latest big name to be linked with the forthcoming film chronicling the unlikely friendship between the late Ian Paisley and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.

Already signed up for The Journey are stars Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney who will play the unionist and republican leaders respectively.

Written by acclaimed Co Down author Colin Bateman, the film will be directed by Belfast-born Nick Hamm.

The fictional comedy drama will tell 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.

Filming is expected to begin this later this month in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Deadline Hollywood reported that Oscar-nominated Hurt (75) - who is battling pancreatic cancer - has been lined up to play Harry, a veteran political fixer tasked with overseeing the St Andrews Agreement.

It has also been reported that Toby Stephens and Freddy Highmore have been cast.

Stephens, who played a villain in the James Bond film Die Another Day, is set to play Tony Blair.

Highmore, who played Charlie in the 2005 remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is to play Jack, a young civil servant tasked with bringing Paisley and McGuinness together.

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