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The Railway Man

Starring Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, alongside Academy Award Winner Colin Firth and Jeremy Irving, The Railway Man is sure to be a big screen favourite when it opens at cinemas throughout the nation on Boxing Day.
(December 26).

THE RAILWAY MAN“Once he had broken his silence, Eric was passionate about sharing all he had learned – that we are better, stronger than we think are, that being vulnerable is part of that strength, that love can bring you back from the very darkest place.”
– Frank Cottrell Boyce

Directed by Australia’s Jonathan Teplitzky, The Railway Man is based on Eric Lomax’s best-selling memoir of the same name. This inspiring story of heroism, turmoil and love recalls when Lomax is forced to labour on the notorious Thai/Burma railway as an allied prisoner of World War 2. He witnesses unimaginable suffering and is himself a victim of beatings and interrogation when it’s discovered he’d built a secret radio to broadcast messages of hope to his colleagues

Barely surviving the war, Lomax returns home, like so many others, to a nation unable to imagine what he and his fellow war veterans have endured. Haunted by the face of one young Japanese officer, he shuts himself off from the world. Decades later, on a chance meeting on a train, he falls in love with Patti (played by Kidman). Determined to help him overcome his demons, Patti discovers that the young Japanese officer who haunted her husband was still alive and she questions herself on whether Eric be given the chance to confront his tormentor.

The Railway Man was shot in spectacular settings of Scotland, Queensland and Thailand, with major sequences filmed on the actual Death Railway. The screenplay was written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson.

As Frank Cottrell Boyce recalls, “most survivors of the notorious Thai/Burma Death Railway kept quiet about what happened to them in the War. “At least, they were quiet in the daytime. “Their nights were filled with rages and nightmares. “Once he had broken his silence, Eric was passionate about sharing all he had learned – that we are better, stronger than we think are, that being vulnerable is part of that strength, that love can bring you back from the very darkest place.

“It’s hard to make any film but The Railway Man was particularly hard. “It was hard to write the script – to find the balance between the darkness of its heart and the light of its conclusion. “To find a happy ending that did not seem pat – to find away to do justice to the horror without it overwhelming everything else.”

Cottrell Boyce says Colin Firth’s grace, understated strength and intelligence made him the ideal person to play Lomax.

To Firth, Lomax’s character simply jumped off the page. “Eric felt completely unique to the story; his passion for railway time tables 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.”

Nicole Kidman read the script and responded immediately. “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,” she says. “I do believe there’s a way in which love can heal, by just gently, slowly, encouraging someone to confront things, and I wanted to do that on screen. “That’s the thread Patti and I share, obviously in very different situations, but I connected to her.”

Jeremy Irvine plays the young Lomax and had actually read the book years before being sent the screenplay. He arrived at his first casting meeting with 50 pages of notes. “This was a story with real integrity, real emotion and also something that needed to be told because it’s truly extraordinary – and I don’t use that word lightly,” Irvine said.

The film’s stellar cast includes Stellan Skarsgard, Sam Reid, Tanroh Ishida and Hiroyuki Sanada. The film is an Australia/UK co-production produced by Andy Paterson, Chris Brown and Bill Curbishlay.