What do you do after giving a rousing performance as the struggling King of England? You play a British POW, that’s what you do. The King’s Speech actor Colin Firth is now set to star in the adaptation of the non-fiction book The Railway Man. THR reports that Firth has boarded the drama which tells the true story of British army officer Eric Lomax, who was captured and tortured by the Japanese during World War II. Lomax was forced to work on the construction of the “death railway,” and later reconciled with one of his tormentors.
Jonathan Teplitzky (Burning Man) is directing the adaptation, while Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions) and Andy Paterson are taking on scripting duties. Lionsgate International is currently shopping the project to buyers at the Toronto Film Festival. Firth will next be seen in the fantastic-looking spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and also stars in the Coen brothers-scripted pic Gambit alongside Cameron Diaz, which is set for release sometime next year. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of The Railway Man.
Lomax, a British Army signals officer, was captured by the victorious Japanese during the Singapore campaign in 1942. Fascinated by railroads ever since his childhood in Edinburgh, he took what pleasure he could in the irony of his slave-labor assignment as a POW: the construction of the Burma-Siam Railroad, made famous later in the David Lean film Bridge over the River Kwai. When guards discovered his lovingly detailed map of the right-of-way, Lomax was turned over to the Japanese secret police as a suspected spy. In the subsequent torture sessions, the interpreter, a young man named Nagase Takeshi, played a prominent role in the effort to break him down. Half a century later, by what he calls “an incredible and precious coincidence,” Lomax learned that Takeshi was still living. A meeting of reconciliation at the Kwai River, which Lomax at first suspected was a fraudulent publicity stunt, was arranged. His graceful and restrained account of how the two men eventually became “blood-brothers” after Lomax granted Takeshi full forgiveness is deeply moving. [Amazon]