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Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Big Ian to hit Tinseltown

On the recurring theme of the GUBU nature of Northern politics, I couldn’t resist this story from the Beeb. It seems the Paisley family has commissioned a biopic of Big Ian, with Gary Mitchell as screenwriter and Ian Óg as executive producer. There is even the unlikely idea that Ballymena’s other famous son, Liam Neeson, might play the lead.

What can you possibly say about this? I’m sure there would be a market for such a picture in Norn Iron, although foreign sales might prove elusive – unless those Southern Baptists who turned out in such numbers for The Passion of the Christ get their act together. And Papa Doc’s eventful life has the makings of a good story – see for example Ed Moloney and Andy Pollak’s Paisley, badly dated now but still indispensable, and Dennis Cooke’s excellent Persecuting Zeal. Neither of these books, however, is much in favour in the Paisley camp, and the hagiography the Dochtúir Mór’s family will be looking for would probably have less drama.

I’m slightly puzzled by Gary Mitchell being asked to write the screenplay. Gary is a good writer, and has produced plenty of stuff sympathetic to loyalism, but I wonder if he’s a good fit for a Paisleyite hagiography. Gary’s writing style is very much Cathy Come Home kitchen sink, and he does have a tendency to do unromantic warts-and-all writing, which is what got him into trouble with the UDA in Rathcoole when they decided to go into dramatic criticism. Maybe the Paisleys misspoke, and they really meant Garry Bushell.

If the thing ever gets off the ground, be assured that your humble scribe will be in the queue ready to do an Ebert on Big Ian’s life story.

By the way, this reminds me – a few years back, when Grizzly was at his peak form of partying with Martin Sheen and Bianca Jagger, there was some speculation floating around that Hollywood might be interested in his life story – or at least that classic work of fiction Before the Dawn, possibly the least revealing memoir ever written. Of late this seems to have fallen off the radar. Memo to the film industry – if there are some gaps in the fantasy market, you could do worse than the life of Ballymurphy’s Nelson Mandela.


Liam Mac Uaid said...

The love scenes are likely to be pretty memorable.

cam said...

Was he there at Burntollet, or was it just Major Bunting?

Renegade Eye said...

I liked the Idi Amin movie with Forest Whitaker. Actually Forest was better than the movie.

how does MUGABE sound?

ejh said...

I can't read the phrase Before The Dawn without thinking of Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Is this a good thing?

splinteredsunrise said...

Actually, I'm really looking forward to Big Ian - The Movie. It has the potential to be Ulster's answer to Ben-Hur or The Greatest Story Ever Told.

But what director could do justice to this epic? It's a pity Leni Riefenstahl isn't available. But Scorsese might be able to capture the DUP pretty well. Or Mel Brooks.