Nick Hamm, the Belfast-born director of The Journey – a film about how the ‘chuckle brothers’ formed an unlikely friendship – discusses how the project came together, why he never wanted to make a movie about the Troubles and why Northern Ireland is at the centre of a new golden age of cinema and television.
Q. The Journey tells the story of how Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness came together to serve in government, and includes a little-known plane journey between the two after the St Andrews talks. How did you find out about them taking the plane together?
A. It was a little-known fact that, during the Troubles, opposing politicians, when travelling to the UK, would often travel together.
The idea of arch-political enemies sharing buses and planes together and then resuming normal hostilities was fascinating to me.
There were several incidents over the years that bordered on the hilarious. I remember Jon Snow telling a friend of mine about a particular journey involving Paisley, Gerry Fitt and a bride who had to get back to Belfast for the marriage.
Another such journey involved Chris de Burgh’s jet, with Paisley and McGuinness flying back from the peace talks at St Andrews. This was the first occasion that both characters sat in the same private space and talked. It was a story that had to be told. So I went to Colin Bateman and he fictionalised the event [ . . . ] More at: The Journey director Nick Hamm: ‘It was a story that had to be told’