Peter Mullan, one of Scotland’s leading actors, has been confirmed to play “Old Tom Morris”, who helped set up the Open championship and went on to win it four times.
It will be filmed in and around St Andrews, Morris’s home town in Fife, where he is still revered as one of the founding figures of the game.
Morris, who was born in St Andrews in 1821, spent 12 years after leaving school working there for professional golfer Allan Robertson, learning how to make golf clubs and balls.
But a rift between the pair saw Morris take over as the professional and greenkeeper at the new Prestwick Golf Club, where the first Open was staged in 1860. Morris was runner-up in the first tournament and claimed his first winner’s prize the following year. He was later to return to become greenkeeper at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews and established a club-making shop overlooking the 18th green, a hole that is named after him to this day.
The feature film, Tommy’s Honour, which Sir Sean has been advising his son on, will focus on the “multi-faceted” relationship between Old Tom and his son, Tommy, who went on to enjoy huge success himself as a golfer.
He will be played by a rising star of the Scottish acting scene, Jack Lowden, from the Scottish Borders, who was inspired to take up the profession after watching the National Theatre of Scotland play Black Watch.
Starring roles have included appearing alongside Kristin Scott Thomas on stage in London’s West End and portraying Scottish Olympic hero Eric Liddell on stage in Chariots of Fire, the movie version of which was famously filmed in St Andrews.
Mullan, whose previous film roles include Trainspotting, My Name Is Joe, Braveheart, Orphans and Sunshine on Leith, will be shooting Tommy’s Honour just weeks before his new film, an adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song, is released.
Tommy’s Honour, which has been awarded a £400,000 grant from national arts agency Creative Scotland, is the latest project for Sunset Song producer Bob Last and has been in development for several years.
Jason Connery said: “I am so incredibly passionate and excited to tell this story. It is truly close to my heart as I grew up with my father on a golf course, and I have a home an hour from St Andrews. This is an extraordinary and intimate tale of love and family at the beginning of the great game of golf.”
Robbie Allen, senior screen executive at Creative Scotland, said: “We are proud to support the realisation of this very Scottish story from director Jason Connery and producer Bob Last.
“This captivating and emotional father-and-son drama is set to engage and entertain audiences at home and internationally.
“A high-profile project, with an exciting cast, this production provides the perfect opportunity to showcase Scotland’s creative, craft and technical talent, our stunning locations and the wealth of our social and sporting history.”