Big screen release for author’s debut novel
ends up killing a few people.
“By the beginning of 1998, it was published. I got a deal for another two books, then a different deal for some more and now there are seven books in the Barney series. The first book doesn’t talk about lots of very specific locations in Glasgow but you do get a real sense of the place.
“When I visited the film set, they were shooting around the Barras, which is perfect.”
As well as Carlyle, the star-studded case also includes Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone, Martin Compston, Ashley Jensen, James Cosmo and Sir Tom Courtenay.
The film rights for the book were snapped up 15 years ago but two attempts to turn it into a film failed before producer Richard Cowan got in touch.
Douglas said: “Richard was born and brought up in Vancouver, Canada, but his dad was born in Scotland and showed him a copy of my book
“Richard wanted to make it into a movie and got in touch with a couple of other producers including John Lenic, who had worked with Robert Carlyle on his TV series Stargate: Universe.
“John showed it to Robert, who really liked it, and things just snowballed from there.
“When I heard Robert was not only going to play the lead role of Barney but direct the film, I was really pleased.”
Having read the screenplay, immediately, Lenic and Kiff turned to the perfect man for the role of Barney: Robert Carlyle. As a BAFTA winning actor, Carlyle is known for pushing the boundaries of character, while as a theatre director he has won multiple awards for his brave reinvention of timehonored stories including Macbeth. Both Lenic and Kiff had worked with Carlyle previously and felt that he was beyond ready to bring his directorial vision to film.
Carlyle soon became passionate about bringing this truly Scottish story to the screen. Carlyle, Lenic, Kiff, and Cowan began developing the script in early 2011. When the script needed to take the next step and get back to its Scottish roots, Kiff flew to Glasgow in 2012 to connect with future producing partners at Sigma Films and to scout Glasgow’s rougher neighbourhoods with Carlyle.
After scouting the city, they settled on Bridgeton Cross, the location where the film was eventually set.
It was at this point that the BAFTA winning Scottish screenwriter Colin McLaren was brought on board to help elevate the material from the compelling source novel and Cowan’s original screenplay to a cinematic story worthy of a world-class cast.
The Barrowlands Ballroom, home to many legendary live music events, stood in for Cemolina’s bingo hall, while the surrounding neighborhood known as The Barras, was the backdrop to many scenes in the movie. The film’s dog races were shot at a working dog track, Shawfield in Rutherglen, a place Carlyle and his own father frequented in the former’s youth.
Killer Robert Carlyle in The Legend of Barney Thomson, outside the Barrowlands in Glasgow
Cambuslang man Douglas