News Column

Stars shine as North sets the scene ; Region the backdrop for Railway Man

December 8, 2013

YellowBrix

NORTH beauty spots form the backdrop for Oscar winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman in their latest movie, as these snaps reveal.

New pictures have been released of the film stars in the Railway Man, filmed in the North.

The film, which had its English premiere at London's Leicester Square this week, is about a prisoner of war's battle with hatred and forgiveness.

Eric Lomax, who died in Berwick, Northumberland, last year aged 93, was beaten, starved and tortured as a prisoner of the Japanese on the Thailand-Burma railway.

The Railway Man explores the post-war friendship between Mr Lomax and his captor and interpreter Takashi Nagase.

The King's Speech star Colin Firth plays the lead role and Nicole Kidman play's Mr Lomax's wife Patti. Now, new images and a clip of the pair and the rest of the cast filming on Holy Island and in Berwick have been released.

The pictures show the Aussie actress and Brit actor on the famous causeway and border town in May 2012.

They were filmed facing one another in the elevated hut, a refuge point for motorists who race the tide and more often than not get stranded.

At the time, onlookers said Firth climbed down and ran off, with Kidman calling "Eric! Eric!" after him ... and before you could say 'Cut!', it was all over.

The Railway is based on Mr Lomax's best-selling memoir and a series of meetings, over many years, with Mr Lomax and his wife. Mr Lomax died in 2012, having lived long enough to visit the set of the film, which was shot in Northumberland, Scotland, Queensland and Thailand.

Firth said: "In an awful lot of screenwriting you get a generic hero of one sort of another. There was nothing generic here - the character jumped off the page.

"Eric felt completely unique to the story; his passion for railway timetables and trains, his extraordinarily intense, soldierly qualities - loyalty and a commitment to a sense of honour, all combined to make a very dynamic personality.

"There's also this very dark side which was to do with the degree to which he'd suffered and that was also very powerful to read. So you have a man who's delightful, but there's a mystery to him."

Kidman added: "I'd never had the chance to play a woman who gets to stand by her partner, her lover, her husband through very difficult times and it's something I feel very strongly about and have done in my own personal life." Mr Lomax - then Lt Lomax - was a signals officer who was captured in Singapore and held at the island's Changi jail before being taken to the Thai town of Kanchanaburi.

His arms were broken, his ribs were cracked and he was waterboarded by his Japanese captors. Many years after the war had ended and he had returned home, Mr Lomax's wife Patti contacted Mr Nagase.

Both men returned to Kanchanaburi to meet in 1993 and eventually became friends.

The film is due out in January.

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