Northern Ireland news

Story of Belfast paperboy during Troubles to be made into movie starring Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney
Marie Louise McConville

A script based on a Belfast author's book about the life of a music-loving paperboy at the height of the Troubles is to be made into a movie.

Dublin-born Colm Meaney has signed up to star in the film version of Paperboy, which tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who starts a newspaper round in the Shankill area of Belfast in 1975.

Donald Petrie, who has directed movies including Mystic Pizza, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Miss Congeniality, is also on board to direct the movie.

Kevin Byron-Murphy, producer at Titian Red Pictures, said when Mr Petrie - whose films have grossed more than $700 million at the box office - read the script, he said: "I love Paperboy. Rarely does a project come around that is so wonderfully entertaining but contains such depth, history and insights into the human condition."

Mr Byron-Murphy said shooting for the movie, which is based on the book Paperboy by Shankill-born author and peace worker Tony Macaulay, is due to begin in Belfast on August 15.

He revealed that while Colm Meaney has signed up to play the boy's father, talks are underway with a two-time Academy Award-nominated actress to play the role of his mother.

There is expected to be an "open casting call" for the role of the paperboy, giving "every kid" in Northern Ireland the opportunity to audition.

The Irish producer said the script for the movie is "totally charming" and it would present a "very positive view" of Belfast.

"We wanted to take a fresh look, We wanted to take a look at it from a boy going through one of the most challenging times of his life," he said.

"Donald has worked with Macaulay Culkin in Richie Rich so he knows children. He came back straight away after reading the script. He was on board straight away.

"We are going into pre-production in June and shooting on August 15."

The movie is expected to be released the following summer.

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