Warrior who came with a message
THE Irish monk Saint Columba was a founding figure of Scottish Christianity. He sailed to Scotland with 12 companions and in 563AD was granted land on the island of Iona to pursue his evangelising mission to the Picts.
Director Norman Stone is set to emphasise the warlike side of the saint's character as religious leader and kingmaker in his planned film, with the working title of The End Time.
Tradition has it that Columba left for Scotland after a quarrel over a psalter with Saint Finian led to a pitched battle in which thousands of men died.
Actor Jeremy Irons has given the project his blessing. He appears as a grim-faced hooded figure in a video promotion that Mr Stone, whose directing credits include Shadowlands, about the writer CS Lewis, has used to pitch the film in recent meetings in Cannes.
Scottish actor James Cosmo and producer Iain Smith have also signalled their interest, although Liam Neeson passed on the film.
"Hopefully we will get this off the ground," Mr Stone said.
He said Duncarron Fort could provide an ideal set for battle scenes in Ireland or scenes at the court of King Bridei, the pagan ruler whom Columba visited at Inverness.
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