Is the Big Screen big enough for the Big Man?

BBC Newsline has revealed there are now two projects to make a movie about Paisley’s life. The Paisley family is co-operating with one project and Gary Mitchell has been commissioned to write the script. Another Co Down production company has recieved support from the Film and Television Commission to develop a script. It is unknown if Liam Neeson is still interested.

  • stathead

    May I suggest Julian Clarey for the lead. John Inman would have been my first choice but sadly he recently died.

  • The House That Funk Built

    ‘Something’s coming this summer…’
    A tagline competition is surely merited.

  • Bemused

    “Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the altar…”.

  • Harris

    They’ll never find an actor with a big enough head to truly play the role.

  • susan

    lol, Bemused. Pity “Never Say Never Again”‘s already taken.

  • A combination of “The King of Scotland” Amin, in the style of Ian Smith of Rhodesia, with the doctrines of Mugabe seems to be the best way to sum up the big mans bio?


    “A passage to Ireland”
    “The last Jewel in the Crown”
    “Dr Strangelove”

  • Wide screen version with extra loud surround dolby sound, what a prospect !!

  • stathead

    ” Never say never again*

  • I saw that on the news this evening and thought that the Beeb had broadcast the story about a fortnight too early. If someone like Paul Greengrass was writing it it’d be an interesting film to watch.No doubt if there ever was a film about the Big Man it’s bound to feature a soundtrack by Willie McCrea -God help us all!

    If Gary Mitchell co wrote a film with John McBlain?

  • John Lowe

    Robbie Coltrane to play Ian Paisley.

  • stathead

    Coltrane would be good actually.

  • Observer

    Jabba the Hut in the lead role?

  • GavBelfast

    Coltrane’s a good call.

    Brian Blessed or Richard Griffith? I can’t think of anyone else large enough and Nolan’s probably too busy with the radio work.

  • GavBelfast

    Art Hostage: “Dr Strangelove” ….

    … ‘Or, How I Learned to Stop War-mongering and Love the ex-Bomber’.


  • james orr

    Re: Coltrane, did any of you ever see the fantastic sketches he did in his early days with BBC Scotland of a character called “Mason Boyne”, the archetypal Glasgow tenement Orangeman who kept a framed picture of Paisley by the lightswitch so he could kiss it every time he either left or entered the room? Masterful stuff.

  • John Lowe

    The Mason Boyne character prompted me to suggest Coltrane.

    I liked the way he spent all his spare time painting the leaves in his garden orange.

  • stathead

    The Long Good Friday

  • stathead

    Look back in anger. Rebel without a cause .Pride and prejudice. Theme music ” Twelfth of never “. And many more ———–

  • Sean

    might I sugest instead of a title a tag line

    the surest cure for insomnia modern man has ever produced

  • nmc

    Art Hostage: “Dr Strangelove” ….

    … ‘Or, How I Learned to Stop War-mongering and Love the ex-Bomber’.



  • Lip Up Fatty

    Buster Bloodvessel for the part of the Doc?

  • overhere

    Aparently “mini me” is going to be involved in the production and coughing up some of the cash. I suppose the cash will be needed for the potatoes to remove the warts. I think we will have to wait until he dies to get to the real truth about Dr Stangelove.

    What about the fat bloke in Hellraiser (not the one with the pins in his head) the scary one,you know the fat one with the strange raidio thing in his head !!

  • Glenda Slagg

    With Art Garfunkel playing Martin McGuinness (see pic in this week’s Private Eye)…doncha just love the big man???!!!??? Geddit???

  • stogiejack

    How about Brendan Gleason to play the Rev. He’s big enough for the role, and has the power in his range that no N.I actor could match. Besides, he should have played Michael Collins instead of big Liam. Only N.I actor I can think of who could pull it off would be Ciaran Hinds.

  • Martin

    Dr No.

    Starring Brad Pitt as young Ian
    Sylvester Stallone as mature Ian
    Glenda Jackson as Eileen
    Bob de Niro as Peter (‘you lookin’ at me?’) Robinson
    Olivia Nash as Iris
    Jeremy Irons as Gerry Adams
    Directed by Ken Loach
    Cinematography by James Cameron

    Filmed on location in Rathcoole

    In Aramaic

  • Johnny B Good

    Stain glass windows in his church dedicated to his life. Now, a film commissioned by his family.

    FALSE IDOLS no less!!

  • CW

    A Clockwork Orangeman?

  • darth rumsfeld

    Gabriel Byrne as the ghost of King William

    Allan Rickman as Peter Robinson

    Tom Hanks as Jeffrey Donaldson

    Bruce Willis as Nigel Dodds

    Matt Lucas as Jim Allister

    David Walliams as Iris Robinson

    and perhaps Clint Eastwood as Bob

    Just a pity Brando’s dead- the obvious choice for the lead-
    “I coulda been a first minister”

    And remember

    “In Stormont, noone can hear you scream”

    I’ll get me sash

  • Martin


    Ow! Much better casting for Robinson. But surely Bruce Willis is already taken for Johnny Adair?

    Andy Serkis for Reg?

  • páid

    It’s potentially a brilliant idea. A genuine character who’s roots are in the bitter land struggle of the Clogher Valley.

    Ian Paisley is a genuine living link to the Plantation, and the clash of cultures and values contained therein.

    Always struck me as fundamentally Irish in a way most modern Unionists are not.

    Go for it. Be authentic.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Joe Pesci would be a great Willie McCrea, reprising his “Goodfellas” character.

    And if Brando’s agent turned it down from beyond the grave, I’d have liked Olly Reed to have been cast in the lead role.

    And of course only Sir Anthony Hopkins could give the right air of understated menace to Jim Allister-“The St Andrews agreement washed down with a nice Chianti…. feffeffefefef!”

  • Greágóir O’ Frainclín

    Will this movie be a comedy?

    Bill Murray as Willie McCrea.

  • Dr Strangelove

    I think the title needs to be short, snappy and to the point so I reckon this would work.


    How about John Goodman for the lead role ? However, as we need someone with an ego the size of Australia, we might need to look outside the acting fraternity, so how about Donald Trump or Dicky Branson ?

    The film could be something along the lines of a Mr Bean storyline, containing scene after scene of unintended consequence. After all the bloodthirsty bigot did as ferment civil unrest as any organisation.

    I would also like to see

    willie mcrea – Joe Pesci
    peter robinson – Al Pacino
    nigel dodds – Samuel L Jackson
    Ian Junior – Christopher Biggins
    Jim Rogers cameo (if possible) – Ronnie Corbett

  • Dr Strangelove

    that sentence should have read:

    “After all the bloodthirsty bigot did as much to ferment civil unrest as any organisation.”

  • Aislingeach

    The Vogon captain in the 2005 “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” was based on pictures of Big Ian, as noted on Slugger back on April 13, 2005.

  • Greágóir O’ Frainclín

    Don’t forget David Cronenberg as Willie Ross

  • Dr Strangelove


    Iris Robinson – Kathy Burke
    David Simpson – John Malkovich
    Jim Allister – Dustin Hoffman
    Gregory Campbell – Denis Waterman
    Jeffery Donaldson – Norman Wisdom
    Sammy Wilson – Harvey Keitel

  • I Wonder

    “Matt Lucas as Jim Allister”

    LOL!!!! Brilliant! 🙂

  • philip

    Very cynical move by the Paisley sect. They know that Hollywood or others may make a less than complimentary movie about him given how his charisma has stoked the coals of distrust, which has manifested themselves in physical and mental abuse by others on others for decades, and now he seeking, like the PM, a positive lasting legacy.

    Sinn Féin convoluted Irish history to show them as downtrodden freedom fighters in a State governed by an alien Oligarchy belonging to the Loyal Orders that oppressed them. Let us hope that the DUP does not use the same extreme techniques to rewrite the history books according to their own extreme mantra.

  • delta omega


    History is always written by the victorious.

  • Shammy

    What about;

    “The Exorcist 2 – Revenge of the Reverend”

    “I STILL cant forget what you did this past 30 years!”

    “The Pope must die!”

    “Never Never Land”

    “Road to nowhere”

    “Little Britain”

    “In the name of the Reverend”

  • Very funny, everyone. However, I think it might be a fascinating film of a genuinely intriguing man, regardless of your take on his politics. Plenty of nationalists have been done on celluloid, but unionists have long been invisible on film, or else caricatured as one dimensional. I hope that any film would show unionists as real people with virtues and vices, and actually have something interesting to say as well about their society. If Gary Mitchell is involved then I am sure it will be sympathetic which is somewhat different from being uncritical.

    It’s a pity Sir Walter Scott is no longer available to write the script as he had a great talent in his novels of showing how individuals lived their lives in times of social change.

  • Oh and Liam Neeson would be superb, and give it some major clout in the film world.

  • nmc

    I doubt Liam would be interested, he has little time for Ian Paisley.

  • Joe

    Actually one man who WANTS to play the role of Paisley is Liam Neeson, years ago David Niven was to play him but Paisley didn’t know who he was.

  • Dr Strangelove

    Watchman, intriguing may be one word to describe him, personally that does not resonate with me. Words which do however, when I think of him are dangerous and hyprocrite.

    If the film tackles the paradox of how a so called man of God can be so hate filled then it might be a worthy project. Then again, I think Paisley’s God is not one of love.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Does anyone have any ideas on what the narrative substance of the film will be? I mean, it’s all well and good to say it’s “about Paisley” but more specifically, what is it about?

    Are they going to attempt to tell his whole life? If so, how will they be able to turn it into a coherent narrative? What’s your beginning, middle and end? What’s the narrative arc?

    Or will the film concentrate on a particular era in his life, a la Michael Collins (which concerned itself solely with 1916-23)? Or will the narrative focus on a specific era, with liberal use of expository flashback to earlier points in his life (as in Nixon, the great biopic of that other notorious “black Irishman”)?

    I would suggest that the opening shot is easy: we open with a shot of a Catholic priest (obviously a Cardinal, as he’s wearing the hat) humming the Rite of Transubstantiation in Latin. The camera draws back and we see that the setting is a spectacular Cathedral, packed with kneeling Catholics mumbling their Latin prayers. The camera retreats further, out the door, and pans back to a wide shot of a vast, twin-spired Cathedral, magnificent to behold. A subtitle reads: St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, national Cathedral of Ireland, 1926. The soundtrack is still one of a priest reciting in Latin, and a sheepish-sounding congregation mumbling the responses. However, slowly bleeding into the score is the sound of a newborn baby crying. The camera continues to draw back, away from the vast doors of the great Cathedral, down the palatial steps, down the hill, out the gates and across the road to a simple house on Edward Street. * The sound of the newborn baby rises higher in the score as the mumbling congregation recedes, and eventually the howling of the baby is all that can be heard. The camera turns and enters the house. The baby is lying in a cot and screaming blue murder. A woman who has just given birth is lying in bed, being comforted by the midwife, and they marvel: “That child has some set of lungs on him!” Standing over the cot is a very stern, severe-looking man in a dog collar that instantly identifies him as a clergyman of a Protestant congregation. He tells the women to be silent, takes out his Bible and reads a passage, preferably something very Old Testament about damnation and being surrounded by evil. (Any suggestions?) When he finishes he says something like: “God has chosen you to do His work, my son.”

    *Paisley was actually born on Loughall Road, which is a couple of hundred metres from the Cathedral in the opposite direction, but that messes up our shot, and a little artistic licence is surely reasonable.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    That subtitle should read:

    “St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Armagh. National Cathedral of Ireland, 1926.”

  • Aaron McDaid

    ‘Passion of the Antichrist’

    Dr Strangelove:
    Jeffery Donaldson – Norman Wisdom
    Surely you mean Daniel O’Donnell to play Donaldson?

  • I Wonder

    Dr. Strangelove said “Then again, I think Paisley’s God is not one of love.”

    – Well I think that anyone here who has ever paid a visit to ATW and the so called religously inspired views of its main writer will see that the Free Presbyterian God is a false one, or certainly not a Christian one at least!

  • stathead

    Billy Pilgrim ” and then the midwife ran a stake through the little bastards heart thus saving many lives ” The End.

  • sean1

    Up round Ballymena way all the wee farmers are preparing to be extra’s (as the third farce)and polishing up the ol’ shotguns for the Mountain scene. Now was it shotgun licences or toilet roll they held up.

  • Ringo


  • nmc

    Gav Belfast and Art Hostage, among others have got a mention in the Guardian. Not to mention slugger, look!,,2039816,00.html

  • Liam McCann

    I heard this the other day on Rdaio 4, a friend said it was obvious: The AbominalNoMan! perhaps Yeti, YetIan?

  • Niall

    Reckon this film will be boring. All Paisley did was talk vitriol all his life – what are they going to do? Shoot it as a series of rabble-rousing speeches?

    He didn’t even make any major changes or take any grand decisions that posed any risk to himself. There’s no narrative here, no emotional crux, just endless stasis.

    I do think there should be more films about the North from a Protestant viewpoint, but its up to Protestants to make them. Hopefully they can find more interesting subject matter than a loud-mouthed politician who played it safe all his life and never even challenged himself.