Toronto 2011: Colin Firth Set to Star in World War II Drama 'The Railway Man'

19 REP DEALS Colin Firth
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Oscar winner Firth will star opposite Emily Blunt in an untitled dark comedy from commercials director Dante Ariola. 

Jonathan Teplitzky begins shooting the big-screen adaptation of Eric Lomax's real-life account in February.

TORONTO  -- Colin Firth has boarded Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson’s big-screen adaptation The Railway Man, which Lionsgate International is launching to buyers at the Toronto Film Festival.

Lionsgate UK, a division of Lionsgate, is retaining distribution rights in the U.K.

Railway Man -- the first major investment from Daria Jovicic’s Latitude Media -- is based on former British army officer Eric Lomax’s best-selling account of his torture by the Japanese during the construction of the “death railway” during World War II and his mission decades later to seek revenge on his tormentor.

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Jonathan Teplitzky is directing The Railway Man, while Boyce and Paterson are penning the adapted script. Paterson, also a longtime producer, is producing with Chris Brown, Bill Curbishley, while Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa is executive producer.

“To have Colin Firth in such a compelling story as The Railway Man is a real coup for us. We’re looking forward to working with Andy, Chris, Bill and Jonathan on this epic tale of love and redemption which we think will have universal appeal for audiences around the world,” said Kamasa.

Railway Man is an Australia-U.K. co-production between Archer Street and Pictures in Paradise.

"The Railway Man is an amazing story and to have the chance to make it with Colin Firth as Eric is really the best gift any director could hope for,” Teplitzky said.

Teplitzky and Paterson are currently in Toronto for Saturday’s premiere of Burning Man, starring Matthew Goode and Bojana Novakovic (Teplitzky directed the independent film, which Paterson produced).

Railway Man reteams Paterson and Firth, who worked together on Girl With A Pearl Earring.

Teplitzky beings shooting Railway Man in February on location in the U.K., Thailand and Queensland, Australia.    

Firth is represented by CAA and Independent Talent. He will next be seen in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, directed by Tomas Alfredson

Lionsgate UK’s upcoming slate includes Toronto title Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor and Kristin Scott Thomas, and which Lionsgate is co-producing with BBC Films and Kudos Film and Television.