A biopic of Robert Burns, starring the Scots actor Gerard Butler, will begin shooting in Scotland this year.Source
The £5m production, which has been beset with financial difficulties, will begin filming following the launch of a government-backed campaign to raise funding.
Glasgow-born Butler, 39, has starred in blockbusters including The Phantom of the Opera and 300. The script has been written by Greenock-born Alan Sharp, who penned Rob Roy, the 1995 blockbuster starring Liam Neeson.
The film, which will be directed by Vadim Jean, a French film-maker, and produced by James Cosmo, a Scots actor, will be shot on location in Edinburgh and Burns’s native Ayrshire.
Most of the budget, which includes investment from Scottish Screen, is already in place. The remainder will be raised by signing up 250 “subscribers” to the project.
Each will commit a sum to the project in the same way that investors backed the publication in 1786 of the famous Kilmarnock Edition of Burns’s poetry. The success of the collection convinced Burns to stay in Scotland rather than emigrate to Jamaica, as he had planned.
Alex Salmond, the first minister, will host a dinner at Edinburgh Castle in May to help raise funds.
The film, titled Burns, will be the first big-screen biopic of the poet since the 1930s. It will focus on his love affairs with his wife Jean Armour and Agnes McLehose, also known as Clarinda, an Edinburgh society hostess.
“Robert Burns is rightly regarded as Scotland’s favourite son,” said Salmond.
“It would be great for Scotland if Burns could be immortalised in modern film, particularly as we mark the 250th anniversary of his birth this year and celebrate his genius through Scotland’s Year of Homecoming.”