Nicole Kidman keen on Scotland after Railway Man

Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman wants to come back and make another film in Scotland because of the experience of working on The Railway Man, one of its film-makers has revealed.

Nicole Kidman with fellow Railway Man star Colin Firth. Picture: Contributed

Andy Paterson, producer of the new epic based on the life of Scots PoW Eric Lomax, said the star had personally contacted him to say she wanted to return because of the locations and crew she experienced while filming the movie last year.

Kidman’s declaration, after almost a month of filming in Scotland before the shoot moved to Singapore and Australia, is likely to heighten calls for the country to invest in a full-time film studio to match the country’s locations.

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The Railway Man was filmed in Scotland, Australia and Singapore, with the shoot based in Edinburgh for several weeks while location such as North Berwick, the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, Perth’s Victorian railway station and St Monans Church in Fife were deployed.

Nicole Kidman with fellow Railway Man star Colin Firth. Picture: Contributed

Such was her enthusiasm for The Railway Man shoot, Kidman has already tried to get the film-makers behind another major project to bring it up to Scotland from London.

He said: “She loved being up here and she really wanted them to take her next film, Before I Go To Sleep, up here, which bizarrely Colin was also going to be in, although it didn’t happen. I got a load of calls about it.

“She just loved everywhere where she’d been in Edinburgh, she loved the crews, she loved the whole way of working.

“Nicole is a girl who doesn’t like to waste time. She loved the way it all worked here and she thought the crew were terrific.”

Paterson, speaking after a sneak preview of the film in Edinburgh, revealed that Firth had personally requested that Kidman be considered for the role of Lomax’s widow Patti.

He added: “Colin was about win an Oscar (for The King’s Speech) when I sent him the script at the start of 2011, but he didn’t up to meet Eric until later that year - I think he knew very well that when he met Eric it would be a level of commitment he wouldn’t step back from.

“Nicole didn’t come on board till a bit later.

“It was no secret that we had talked to Rachel Weisz about the film and she wanted to do it, but it became clear that she wasn’t going to be available for the dates that we had.

“Colin had got to know Nicole quite well after they were both nominated for an Oscar and he actually asked me if I would think about her for the role. I sat there thinking I couldn’t quite believe what he was asking me.

“She read the script incredibly quickly and got it on a very profound level. It was incredibly quick between her being sent the script and coming on board.”

Meanwhile Paterson has revealed that Eric Lomax - whose best-selling memoirs of working on the “Death Railway” in Thailand inspired the film - described the day he spent on set watching Colin Firth close to his home in Berwick-upon-Tweed was one of the best of his life.

But he said he was glad that Edinburgh-born Lomax had not seen the film depicting the harrowing torture he suffered at the hands of the Japanese during the Second World War.

He died at the age of 93 last October while the film, which is due to get its UK premiere in London tonight, was still being edited.

Paterson said: “I honestly don’t think he (Lomax) could ever have seen it. I brought him some stills and footage up to Berwick. He looked at a few of the stills and said: ‘I think that’s enough.’

“We agreed that it would have been ironic, that after all that process, if we had ended up bringing the nightmares back.

“When I stood on the hillside when we were shooting the labour camp stuff and those beatings it was pretty hard for us to take because it was pretty real.

“I know he would never have seen the film. He was incredibly happy that it had been made.

“He actually looked at me when we were looking at those stills and said: ‘are you happy with the final outcome?’ When I said I was he just looked at me and said: ‘that’s very good.’”

Firth met Lomax twice in the run-up to filming getting underway and he and Kidman paid a final emotional visit to his home duing the shoot.

But the crew defied doctor’s orders Paterson was taken up on a wheelchair up a hill overlooking his native Berwick-upon-Tweed for the filming of one of the final emotional scenes.

Paterson said: “We were up on the hill with Colin overlooking the great Berwick viaduct where all the trains go past, which was one of Eric’s favourite places.

“We just thought that since he was 93 and he had waited 14 years for the movie, we just thought he had to be there. We sent for him, he was carried up the hill in a wheelchair. It was perfect. He apparently talked about that day every day until he died. When he did pass away, it was such a relief that we had made the film by then.”