One of the many films to play at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was The Journey from director Nick Hamm’s (The Hole, Killing Bono). Scripted by Colin Bateman, the film is a dramatization of the events preceding the historic 2006 St. Andrews Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland after years of violent strife between Unionist and Republican factions. In the movie, Hamm places the Democratic Unionist Party’s Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney) on a short journey together and without aids where they’re forced to discuss their past actions and what they want for the future. Led by great performances from Spall and Meaney, The Journey surprised me. For more on the film, read Matt’s review. The film also stars John Hurt, Toby Stephens, and Freddie Highmore.
Shortly after seeing the film I sat down with Nick Hamm and Colm Meaney for an exclusive video interview. They talked about being at TIFF, the background and story of the film, memorable moments from filming, the rehearsal process and the difficulty of the shoot, how Hamm handles the editing process and friends and family screenings, the way digital cameras have changed the way actors work, and a lot more. Check it out in the player above and below you can find a list of everything we talked about and the synopsis.
Nick Hamm and Colm Meaney:
- When they found out that The Journey would be part of TIFF.
- The background and story of the film.
- How they got involved in the project.
- Getting funding for the project.
- How The Journey is about the art of compromise.
- How Hamm handles the editing process and friends and family screenings.
- What he learned from these screenings.
- Meaney’s reaction to seeing the film after the cuts.
- Memorable moments from filming.
- The rehearsal process and the difficulty of the shoot.
- What they fought about on day one.
- If Hamm prefers to do a lot of takes.
- Meaney on how digital cameras have destroyed the acting process.
- Meaney on where he believes the performance is crafted.
Here’s the synopsis:
After 40 years of “the troubles” in Northern Ireland the leading players meet at St. Andrews to try and hammer out a final and lasting peace agreement. The success of the talks depend on loyalist firebrand Ian Paisley and a former IRA Commander Martin McGuinness, two sworn enemies, agreeing to share power. With the talks in extreme crisis the pair are forced by circumstance, or perhaps fate, to take a car journey together. After a series of initial bitter exchanges, their conversation begins to shift and cracks emerge in their armour. Watched by their colleagues back at St. Andrews the rivals not only discover that they are not that dissimilar but begin to forge a friendship.