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28/05/2008

Neeson Working On NI Troubles Drama For BBC

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International movie star, Liam Neeson, (pictured) is back on home turf as he begins filming of a major new drama about the NI Troubles.
The Ballymena-born star is back in the Province working on the upcoming BBC2 piece, Five Minutes of Heaven.
Set largely in Belfast, it's a dramatised version of the real-life story of Alistair Little, an illegal paramilitary UVF member who was 17-years-old when he began 12 years in jail for murdering Catholic Jim Griffin, 19, in Lurgan in 1975.
Jim's murder was witnessed by his 11-year-old brother, Joe Griffin, and the impact of the killing destroyed his family.
Although it is still to be confirmed, Neeson, 55, is expected to be playing Little as a grown man.
Murphy's Law star - and fellow Ulsterman - James Nesbitt is lined up to portray Joe Griffin in adulthood.
Patrick Spence, Head of BBC Drama Northern Ireland, said: "Northern Ireland is a society emerging from conflict. We wanted to develop and produce a single film which, in a responsible way, marks part of that transition.
"We have done this by recording powerful personal testimonies of the two individuals whose lives have been determined by the Troubles."
Five Minutes of Heaven has been penned by Guy Hibbert, who also wrote the Channel 4 film Omagh, about the Real IRA bomb that killed 29 people - and unborn twins - in the town.
At the helm is German director Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose movie Downfall - about Hitler's last days - was Oscar-nominated.
Both stars have taken several roles in films on the Province's troubled history.
Neeson – who has just signed up to play Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's upcoming epic on the assassinated president – starred in the 1996 movie Michael Collins.
Nesbitt took an early role in Resurrection Man about the Shankill Butchers, and a lead role in the 2002 ITV film Bloody Sunday.
The drama, which also received funding from Northern Ireland Screen, is due to be broadcast later this year.
(BMcC)
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