Cambuslang writer Douglas Lindsay on how his haircut experiences as a youngster formed the serial killer character who is set to make his big-screen bow
Stars Robert Carlyle and Ashley Jensen were brought together on the red carpet at the Edinburgh International Film Festival last week — all thanks to a Cambuslang man!
The Cambuslang creator of Robert Carlyle’s new serial killer character says Barney Thomson was based on the worst aspects of barbers he had met.
Last Wednesday night marked the premiere of The Legend of Barney Thomson, the directorial debut of Trainspotting star Robert Carlyle.
The film is based on the book The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson, written by Cambuslang man Douglas Lindsay. The book was first published in 1999, in which a barber accidentally becomes a serial killer.
Carlyle stars in the film, with Ray Winstone as the detective inspector hunting the killer, who is supported by his mother Cemolina, played by Emma Thompson.
Douglas ( 51), a former Cathkin High pupil, flew in especially for the premiere in Edinburgh, as he now lives in Talinn in Estonia.
He said: “Barney’s a kind of a journeyman barber.
“I used to go and get a haircut every three or four weeks and, when I sat there, I could see all these elements in them that stuck in my head.
“In the end, I took the worst parts of them all and brought them together in the one character — he’s pretty useless and he does bad things, and I’ve been expanding on those ever since.
“I’m really pleased we’ve got Robert playing him — he’s just right for the part.
“When I heard he was going to be directing it, I was really pleased. It’s his first film, so there’s a major buzz about it.”
Although the book has been adapted from his original novel, Douglas has had virtually no involvement with the adaptation of his work.
He explained: “I’ve never really talked to Robert Carlyle. I came over for one day of filming and, really, the first I saw of him doing it properly was when I saw the trailer with him.
“I knew from the off that I wasn’t going to be involved in writing it and I wouldn’t be able to stick my nose in.
“I’ve seen the script two or three times along the way, but I didn’t really have a look in.”
The writer says the creation of the film was a drawn-out process.
He said: “It’s been a long-time coming. I first wrote the book about 20 years ago, and it was several years before it was finally published, in 1999.
“I’d actually sold the movie rights for it a while before it had been published. “I knew at the time it could take a while for everything to come together and for the film to be made, but I didn’t think it would take 16 years!
“The guy who has produced it and cowritten the script, Richard Cowan, was someone who I first spoke to in 2002, and he’s been with it for the past 12 or 13 years. I suppose it just depends on when the money come in — it’s taken a long time, but I can’t wait to see it.”
The Barney Thomson book series now stretches to seven novels, but Douglas isn’t sequel-hunting yet.
He added: “It was my first book, and I just want to see how it goes.
“I’m feeling quite confident about it and, from what I’ve heard about the atmosphere when they were filming, it looks fantastic.
“I’ve got no possession over it, and I just want to see what they’ve done with it.”
Killer cutter Robert Carlyle stars and directs
the film adaptation of Douglas Lindsay’s book (inset), based on a homicidal barber
Star treatment Douglas and his family joined Carlyle (left) on the red carpet at the Edinburgh International Film Festival last week