Epic battle to star in Bonnie Prince Charlie film

A new film about Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Great Getaway, will feature the biggest battle scene ever shot in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
A new film about Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Great Getaway, will feature the biggest battle scene ever shot in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
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THE biggest battle scene ever shot in Scotland is to be the bloody centrepiece of a new movie about Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Dumfries and Galloway is to be the setting for the Battle of Culloden for the new £6.5 million film and the prince’s subsequent flight to Skye.

Peter Mullan: Lined up for film. Picture: Getty

Peter Mullan: Lined up for film. Picture: Getty

Already actors Peter Mullan - the award-winning Peterhead-born star who appeared in My Name is Joe, War Horse and Neds - and Brendan Gleeson, who starred in Braveheart, Gangs of New York and the Harry Potter films - and won an Emmy Award in 2009 for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the film Into the Storm - have been lined-up.

The part of Flora MacDonald, who helped the Young Pretender escape to Skye, has been offered to Kristen Stewart, who played Bella Swan in the internationally successful Twilight films.

The prince has not yet been cast.

Negotiations are continuing with the “Hollywood A-Listers” who have been earmarked for the key roles as well as that of Culloden victor the Duke of Cumberland.

There will be no anti-English feeling or sentiment in the film. This film is more about being British - it was a civil war. It was about either being British or Jacobean.

Robbie Moffat

Filming on The Great Getaway will begin at the end of June with the battle scene involving more than 500 extras.

The Battle of Stirling Bridge which involved 2000 extras in Braveheart was ironically filmed in Ireland.

Dumfries and Galloway has been chosen by producers of The Great Getaway because the topography resembles Culloden. The historic protected battlefield cannot be used for such a major re-enactment.

The battle will be constructed by Seoras Wallace, who shot to fame when he directed the fight scenes in Braveheart. He has worked on more than 100 major films including Gladiator and Saving Private Ryan.

The new film is the first major movie on Charles Edward Stuart since Bonnie Prince Charlie, the 1948 production starring David Niven and Margaret Leighton - legendary for its nightmarish shoot and catastrophic box-office takings.

The Great Getaway has been written by Glasgow-born Robbie Moffat, 60, who said it will not be “anti-English in any way.”

“Even the bad guys are Scottish. It was Scot against Scot. There will be no anti-English feeling or sentiment in the film,” said Mr Moffat, who has worked on 24 feature films, including Red Rose, about the life of poet Robert Burns.

“This film is more about being British - it was a civil war. It was about either being British or Jacobean. There’s a lot of politics going on in the film. The British Empire started with Culloden and it was the battle that in the end united Britain.”

He added: “I have had the idea of making this film for 15 years and have had it in development for three. I think this story has everything. It will have romance too.

“The fight scene will be the biggest ever shot in Scotland. It will be spectacular.

“The Prince is very much a spoilt brat initially who knows nothing about Scottish culture until after he goes native.

“The 1948 film was too sweeping in the story and more about romance. This will help correct some of the myths.”

Scenes will also be shot in Skye and South Uist - the route followed by the fleeing Prince - as well as the remote Knoydart peninsula, the mountains where Bonnie Prince Charlie is supposed to have taken refuge after Culloden. Lewis will also be one of the locations.

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