The movie focuses on the improbable friendship between Martin McGuinness (played by Meaney) and Ian Paisley (Spall) in a story that follows the two Northern Ireland political titans after the signing of the breakthrough St. Andrews Agreement in 2006. The former sworn enemies grew closer in 2007, becoming known as “The Chuckle Brothers,” when they served in the Northern Ireland Assembly, with Paisley as first minister and McGuinness as his deputy.
Toby Stephens portrays British Prime Minister Tony Blair with Freddie Highmore as a government employee tasked to drive Paisley and McGuiness on their journey. John Hurt plays an accomplished veteran political fixer overseeing the St. Andrews Agreement.
Variety’s Owen Glieberman said in his Venice review, “It’s a celebration, by two splendid actors, of the art of political theater.”
Hamm directed from a Colin Bateman script. The film was produced by Piers Tempest, Mark Huffam, Matt Jackson, IM Global CEO Stuart Ford and Hamm; exec producers are Jo Bamford, Norman Merry, Janine Modder, and Miguel Palos Jr.
IM Global financed the film with support from North Ireland Screen and Lipsynch Post.
CAA helped broker the deal for the film, which was negotiated with Arianna Bocco on behalf of IFC Films, and IM Global on behalf of the filmmakers.
It’s the second Toronto deal for IFC, which also recently acquired US rights to Philippe Falardeau’s boxing drama “The Bleeder,” starring Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss and Naomi Watts.