Colm Meaney’s portrayal of the late Martin McGuinness has earned him the IFTA for Best Actor in a Lead Role in Film at the IFTA Awards ceremony in the Mansion House, Dublin on Saturday, April 8th.
Colm is an iconic Irish actor with early cult Irish performance as the Dad in the Snapper, the Van and the Commitments and who rose to international recognition with his role as Chief Miles O'Brien in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with other major roles in Matthew Vaughn’s Layer Cake, Declan Lowney’s Alan Partridge and the upcoming Halal Daddy from Conor McDermottroe.
SPEECH: Upon accepting his IFTA Award on stage he said, “You know every once in awhile in this job, you get a chance to do something that is significant, that means more to you than just another job. This was one of those projects. When I read the script I knew it was an important piece of work, it meant a lot to me personally, and it recognises and celebrated a very significant event in our history. It also gained in significance as time went on, as events overtook us, particularly with Martin’s death. It was very moving when Martin died, we lost, I think, a great Irishman, and I hope the film in some small way contributes to the recognition to his life and work. Thank you IFTA.”
The actor also commended the extraordinary energy of director Nick Hamm, the quality script written by Colin Bateman and the undisputed talents of his co-star Timothy Spall, whom he described as one of the greatest living actors. On a more personal level he also noted ‘The Journey’ was the final project he became involved with through his manager of three decades Rick Ax, who passed away last year.
This marked the fifth Nomination for the actor by the Irish Academy, with a win back in 2003 for ‘How Harry Became a Tree’ and other nominations for ‘Kings’, ‘Parked’ and ‘Hell on Wheels’ over the years.
Political drama ‘The Journey’, directed by Nick Hamm, has come at a huge juncture in the real-life narrative of Northern Irish politics, with the recent passing of former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Variety – the world’s leading Film Trade publication said: “It’s a celebration, by two splendid actors, of the art of political theater—and when the accord is reached, it’s because of what sly actors Paisley and McGuinness themselves turn out to be.” -
The Hollywood Reporter said: “Though firmly set in its time and place, the story of the ‘The Journey’ seems particularly apt for 2016, when political tribalism has reached new and ferocious heights.” –
Collider – the international Film Website said: “Colin Bateman finds the honesty of how two men, weary from war, could finally find peace. Led by tremendous performances from Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney, ‘The Journey’ is a captivating final conflict between two lifelong enemies.” –
Meaney portrays McGuinness in the poignantly written script from Irish talent Colin Bateman, who has re-imagined the intense car journey between the politician and his lifelong arch enemy Ian Paisley, brought to life by Harry Potter actor Timothy Spall. Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) plays the undercover MI5 driver who stages a minor accident to buy McGuinness more time in breaking down the cold exterior of his fellow passenger, and making unprecedented progress on the beginnings of the Good Friday Agreement.
Hamm has praised the writing and acting talent on the project for its unique Irish quality, and the light moments this brought to the story; “The Irish have a great sense of humour above everything else and we wanted to try and import that into the movie in some way.” The project received its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival to a standing ovation, before travelling to the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in 2016.
Nick Hamm, Mark Huffam and Piers Tempest produce the project, which was filmed in counties Antrim and Down, Northern Ireland.
‘The Journey’ releases to Irish cinemas on June 16th 2017.