Big screen re­lease for au­thor’s de­but novel

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Kenny Smith

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

Writer Lind­say

Cam­bus­lang man Dou­glas

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