Jim Sheridan Plans Pan Am Terror Attack Film (Exclusive)
Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan is lining up a movie about the 1988 Pan Am terrorist bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, which left 270 passengers and town residents dead.
Sheridan said he is working on a script with Irish screenwriter Audrey O’Reilly and that the film would "definitely happen in the next few years."
The attack continues to occupy hearts and minds on both sides of the Atlantic, as many of the dead were American and British.
"It’s a drama basically looking at the effect on a family of terrorism,” said Sheridan.
The Oscar-nominated filmmaker said that the narrative is set to follow the real-life story of Jim Swire, an English doctor whose daughter Flora was among the dead when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over the Scottish village on its way from London to the U.S.
Swire soon became a leading campaigner in the hunt to discover the truth about the terror attack and was unconvinced by the trial and the accusations leveled at Libya.
Eventually the doctor would go on to meet Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the alleged Libyan intelligence officer who was jailed for the bombing, as a working medic.
Megrahi was released by the Scottish authorities on compassionate grounds to return to Libya to die in 2012 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
"It was this weird thing where you think you’ve found the person who killed your daughter, and then Jim ended up in the cell looking after him -- because he’s a doctor and the guy wasn’t well -- and it’s obvious as the nose on your face that Megrahi didn’t do it," said Sheridan.
Lockerbie recently returned to the headlines with a report in U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph claiming that the bombing was actually carried out by a Syria-based terror group under orders from Iran.
Abolghassem Mesbahi, a former Iranian intelligence officer who's since defected to Germany, claimed that the plane was downed in response to a U.S. Navy strike just six months earlier on an Iranian commercial jet that killed 290 people.
"It’s scary what they didn’t reveal to us at the time," said Sheridan. "It doesn’t really matter, the people are dead and you can’t bring them back to life. But in the future, we need clear investigations of these things or else you’re going to end up with flight MH370 [the missing Malaysia Airlines plane]."
Swire is scheduled to be among the special guests at Sheridan’s inaugural Dublin Arabic Film Festival, which kicks off in the Irish capital’s Light House Cinema on May 8.
Other speakers at the four-day event are set to include Omar Sharif, who opens the festival with his acclaimed 2003 drama Monsieur Ibrahim, and Hany Abu-Assad, the director of Oscar-nominated Palestinian dramas Omar and Paradise Now.
Sheridan's 1989 debut, My Left Foot, garnered Oscars for Daniel Day-Lewis and co-star Brenda Fricker.
Sheridan followed up with In the Name of the Father, which won the Golden Bear at the 44th Berlin International Film Festival, and his resume also includes The Boxer, In America, Get Rich or Die Tryin' and Brothers.