The “godfather of golf” is set to take centre stage in the Edinburgh International Film Festival after it emerged that a drama depicting his life story will open the 70th annual event this summer.
Sir Sean Connery’s son Jason will be heading down the red carpet himself to unveil Tommy’s Honour, which will explore the relationship between golfing pioneer “Old Tom Morris” and his son Tommy, who were two of the most prominent pioneers of the modern game.
Award-winning actor Peter Mullan and rising Scottish star Jack Lowden, who recently appeared in the BBC’s adaptation of War & Peace, are expected to help unveil the new film at the Festival Theatre on 15 June.
News of the film’s world premiere in Edinburgh raises the tantalising prospect of Sir Sean returning to the city for the first time since he stood down as a patron of the festival six years ago.
His son said: “It’s so exciting. I remember standing in the middle of a field in Fife during the shoot and saying to Peter and Jack, Tommy’s Honour might get into the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Not in our wildest dreams did we think it would be the opening gala.”
Old Tom Morris, who was born in St Andrews in 1821, is widely regarded as the founding father of the modern game of golf. A pioneering green-keeper, he helped launch the Open Golf Championship at Prestwick in Ayrshire and went on to win the tournament four times. However his son would go on to match the achievement, winning four titles by the age of 24, only to die tragically just months later.
Connery’s film, which was shot on location in St Andrews, the world-renowned “home of golf, and the Borders town of Peebles last autum.
The announcement that Tommy’s Honour will be unveiled at the event means the EIFF will be book-ended by major Scottish films in its 70th year, following last week’s announcement that the remake of Whisky Galore! will close the event.
Mark Adams, artistic director of the festival, said: “We’re proud to be staging the world premiere of Tommy’s Honour.
“It is a beautifully made film packed with memorable moments and terrific performances and reflects perfectly our intention to keep on bringing great Scottish projects to our audience.”
Bob Last, producer of Tommy’s Honour, added: “It’s an honour to be back at EIFF for an opening gala.
“It means a lot to have Mark Adams and his team’s support for Jason Connery and our fantastic cast’s telling of an iconic Scottish story.
“We look forward to introducing our film to Scotland and to the gala being the first step in taking Tommy’s Honour to an international audience.”
Tickets for the opening night gala are on sale now.