Belfast Telegraph

Kingsley is a man on the run from Ulster snappers

By Maureen Coleman

Oscar winner Sir Ben Kingsley is in Northern Ireland this week to shoot a controversial new movie on the life of IRA informer Martin McGartland - but has so far eluded local photographers.

Man On The Run, directed by Canadian Kari Skogland, is based on McGartland's book Fifty Dead Men Walking, which tells of his time as a double agent between 1987 and 1991.

Scenes have already been shot in the villages of Ardglass and Killough but it is understood filming will take place today in the Donegall Street/Union Street area of Belfast.

Exact details of the production are being kept hush-hush and the set is closed to the Press.

However, eyewitnesses claim they spotted the elusive Sir Ben in a south Belfast restaurant at the weekend.

Man on the Run also stars US actress Rose McGowan, star of the hit series Charmed, as well as Brit actor Jim Sturgess and Nathalie Press (Summer of Love).

Belfast-born Martin McGartland worked as a double agent for Special Branch.

He was abducted by the IRA but made a dramatic escape when he jumped from a third floor window in west Belfast.

He went on the run and into hiding in England, but was tracked down again and survived an attempt on his life by the IRA.

The title of his book refers to his claim that he helped save the lives of some 50 people.

Ben Kingsley, who is of half Indian/half English descent, made his stage debut in 1966 before joining the Royal Shakespearean Company in 1967.

He is the only actor to have won an Academy Award for his debut movie - the highly acclaimed Gandhi - in 1982.

He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Sexy Beast and Best Supporting Actor for Bugsy in 2001.

In 2003 he won an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for the film House of Sand and Fog.

Other acting credits include Oliver Twist, Schlinder's List, Twelfth Night and Lucky Number Slevin.

The actor, who also once had a bit part in Coronation Street, was knighted in the New Year's Honour List in 2001.

He married his fourth wife, Daniola Barbora de Carneiro, earlier this year.

Sir Ben Kingsley is the latest Hollywood actor to visit Northern Ireland.

During the summer Bill Murray and Tim Robbins were in town to shoot the movie City Of Ember.

Meryl Streep has also visited Belfast for a fundraising event for the Old Museum Arts Centre.

Next week Belfast will play host to Shirley MacLaine and Mischa Barton, who will be arriving in the city for the premiere of Lord Attenborough's movie Closing the Ring.

Lord Attenborough also directed Gandhi, the film that made Ben Kingsley a star.

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