Colin bags himself a new wife for his Railway Man role
Building bridges: Nicole Kidman takes over from Rachel Weisz
Oscar-winning star Colin Firth has found a new wife: Nicole Kidman.
She will take the role over from Rachel Weisz as the remarkable woman who helped her husband try to overcome nightmares caused by his horrific World War II experiences.
The Academy Award-winning actress was persuaded by Firth and producer Andy Paterson to star in The Railway Man, which is based on the true story of Eric Lomax, a second lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals who was captured by Japanese forces.
As a prisoner of war, he was tortured and made to work on the Burma-Siam railway, also known as the Death Railway – its construction was fictionalised in David Lean’s 1957 film The Bridge On The River Kwai.
Lomax’s second wife, Patricia Wallace, known as Patti, will be portrayed by Kidman.
Ms Weisz was all set to play her but she has to do additional shooting on two movies, The Bourne Legacy and Oz: The Great And Powerful – plus she wants to be on hand for the U.S. release of Terence Davies’s haunting film The Deep Blue Sea this month.
Lomax was sent to a camp near Kanchanaburi, Thailand, which was teeming with tens of thousands of POWs building the railway and the infamous bridge.
Filming will take place at that location, which has now become a national monument. Jeremy Irvine, who played the lead in Steven Spielberg’s film based on the book and play War Horse, will play the young Lomax, who is brutally tortured during his time there.
When Patti Wallace married Lomax years later, she set about trying to help him cope with the deep emotional fissures that continued to tear at his mind.
Firth, who will portray the older Lomax, told me: ‘He was being tortured all over again.
‘After you go through what he and others did, you never forget. It’s with you for ever. I’ve met him and he’s an incredible man.’
Fully aware of the psychological horrors her husband was enduring, Patti set about helping him.
She wrote to the former Japanese officer her husband held responsible for his torture, which set in motion a most extraordinary act of forgiveness.
Producer Paterson has been trying to make the film for several years, and Firth has been involved for a long time, too.
He was actively involved in recruiting Irvine and Kidman and on the project during his few days in Los Angeles for the Oscars.
With a script by Frank Cottrell Boyce, the movie is being directed by Jonathan Teplitzky and will be filmed in Scotland and Australia as well as Thailand.
McTeer boosts Mamma Mary
Boost: Janet McTeer is a bankable star
Meryl Streep’s success at the Oscars and Janet McTeer’s Best Supporting Actress nomination, have given a big boost to Phyllida Lloyd’s desire to film her acclaimed stage version of Mary Stuart.
Ms Lloyd directed Streep in The Iron Lady, while McTeer starred in the title role in Mary Stuart for Lloyd in the West End and on Broadway.
And McTeer received an Oscar nomination for the moving drama Albert Nobbs, which also starred Glenn Close.
There was a lot of chatter in LA about how bankable McTeer is.
And it has been noticed that The Iron Lady has taken 50 million at the global box-office, while Lloyd’s film Mamma Mia! – also starring Streep – took ten times that.
Flirty Angelina’s going to be the Cleo winner
Flirty: Angelina Jolie will make the perfect Cleo
The moment I clapped eyes on Angelina Jolie sashaying along the red carpet at the Oscars in the now famous strapless midnight velvet gown with a slit up to her right thigh, every red blood cell in my body went on major alert.
As she came towards me, her right leg getting all of my attention, I bowed and told her unashamedly that she was wearing the sexiest dress I’d seen all day.
I’d judged her mood right. She gave me a gorgeous smile and said no one had complimented her on the frock. She said she was touched, thanked me and did a little curtsey.
One of her future film projects sees her portraying Cleopatra for director David Fincher.
The film has long been in development, but I was told on Wednesday that Angelina definitely wants to do it and she will be sent Eric Roth’s script as soon as it’s complete.
Our idea of Cleopatra was shaped by how Elizabeth Taylor played her in the 1963 picture, you know, with the same seductive quality as Angelina at the Oscars.
But when Angelina read Cleopatra: A Life by author Stacy Schiff, which the film will be based on, she was struck by the Egyptian queen’s grasp on politics and warfare, and sees in her as a combination of the kind of power possessed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.
I will be more than happy to bow, nay, lay prostrate on the ground, to Angelina’s Cleopatra – whether or not her leg is in full view.