The Journey to make light of Paisley-McGuinness friendship

Timothy Spall, left, and Colm Meaney in The Journey
Timothy Spall, left, and Colm Meaney in The Journey
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THE first images have been released from the shoot of a new film portraying the unlikely friendship that was forged between the Reverend Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.

The Journey, which will be shot in both Northern Ireland and Scotland, will turn the political odd couple into a comedy double act.

It will recall how the two politicians put their bitter differences aside under a groundbreaking power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Timothy Spall, who wowed critics playing the artist JMW Turner last year, has been cast as the late Rev Paisley, who passed away last September at the age of 88.

His other big-screen roles have included Winston Churchill in The King’s Speech and the villainous Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter film series.

The other half of the duo dubbed “The Chuckle Brothers” by the media in Northern Ireland will be portrayed by veteran Irish actor Colm Meaney, who is best known for his roles in the Star Trek series.

Toby Stephens, the son of actress Dame Maggie Smith, whose previous roles have included the villain Gustav Graves in Pierce Brosnan’s final James Bond film Die Another Day, will play the then Prime Minister Tony Blair in The Journey.

Veteran English actor Sir John Hurt has been cast as a veteran political fixer tasked with overseeing the crucial St Andrews Agreement, which led to the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2007.