Principal photography has begun on Robert Carlyle’s The Legend of Barney Thomson, his first directorial outing on a feature film. The film, being shot in Glasgow over Carlyle’s Once Upon a Time hiatus is based on Douglas Lindsay’s novel Long Midnight of Barney Thomson a darkly comic tale ofa down-on-his luck barber who happens into murder. The novel is first in a series about the diffident, yet deadly, Glasgow barber and his adventures. The commencement of filming was announced via Twitter by @LegendOfBarney, the film’s official Twitter feed.
Although this is Carlyle’s first feature film behind the camera, the critically-acclaimed actor had years of experience directing for the stage early in his career, and moved behind the camera during the second season of the woefully underrated Syfy series Stargate Universe. Although quite modest about it at the time, Carlyle’s achievement in that episode was immense, directing a particularly emotionally intense episode, while at the same time portraying the quietly unravelling Dr. Nicholas Rush.
The cast of the new film includes Carlyle in the lead role of Barney Thomson, Emma Thompson cast as Barney’s singularly odd mother, and Ray Winstone as the detective sniffing around several murders in the Glasgow area that may or may not be tied to the hapless Barney. Winstone and Carlyle have worked together before, most notably in Antonia Bird’s 1997 film Face (which also starred Game of Thrones’ Queen Cersei, Lena Heady).
Carlyle has worked with some of the most interesting directors of this generation, including Ken Loach (Riff Raff, Carla’s Song) and frequent collaborator, the aforementioned Antonia Bird (Face, Ravenous, Priest), Danny Boyle (Trainspotting), and Michael Winterbottom (Go Now), all of whom are sure to be influences on his directorial style. Carlyle has often noted Loach’s style in particular, when discussing directing.
Before and during the early days of his acting career, he directed for the stage, often using improvisational and devised techniques, which won him some acclaim in the U.K. Although stage directing and film directing are two very different kettles of fish as far as scope and scene setting, Carlyle is a seasoned pro in working with actors and hitting the right notes in performance.
Fans of the Scottish actor, who, plays the multi-layered, very Byronic, Rumplestiltskin on the hit ABC series Once Upon a Time are excited about Carlyle’s new project, and cannot wait to see his efforts bear cinematic fruit both behind the camera and as the accidentally murderous Barney Thomson when the film is released next year. The Legend of Barney Thomson is produced by John Lenic (Stargate franchise) through his Trinity Works studio, with a script by Richard Cowan (X-Men: The Final Stand, Cabin in the Woods) and Colin McLaren. The Barney Thomson official Twitter feed promises to keep fans up to date on filming with pictures and information as principal photography continues in Glasgow.[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=B00GXFBXE8,0749931582,0954138767,B00GWGYEIA]