Carlyle Debut Opens Film Festival

Actor Robert Carlyle's directorial debut has opened this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) where it received its world premiere.

The Legend Of Barney Thomson, in which Carlyle also stars, kicked off the 12-day event with a screening at the city's Festival Theatre.

Set in Glasgow, it also stars Emma Thompson and Ray Winstone, with some cast members such as Sir Tom Courtenay, Ashley Jensen and Martin Compston on the red carpet tonight for the opening gala.

Based on the book The Long Midnight Of Barney Thomson by Douglas Lindsay, The Legend Of Barney Thomson is described as a dark comedy.

Trainspotting star Carlyle, honorary patron of EIFF, plays Barney, an awkward barber who inadvertently stumbles into murder, with both absurd and macabre consequences.

Complicating matters further, Barney's mother Cemolina (Thompson) has a secret of her own, causing a bloody and comedic chain of events while police inspector Holdall (Winstone) tries to solve the crime.

Carlyle said: "It's a great honour for me to be here. I can't say enough about tonight because Edinburgh has played an enormous part in my career. To be given the opportunity to premiere my debut directorial film is wonderful.

"It's terribly nerve-racking. I'm more nervous tonight than I think I have ever been."

Jensen, who plays a detective, said: "When I was sent this script I thought that my agent had sent it to the wrong person because she's a really scary lady. I thought, I hope it is for me - because that's dead exciting because I usually get to play the nice person or a best friend.

"It was a lot of fun. The thing with Bobby (Carlyle) is that he's an actor so he knows how actors work and he said 'listen guys, I love all you a lot, that's why you are in my film and I trust you all so basically just have fun with it'."

The film, which is released on July 24, also stars Brian Pettifer, Kevin Guthrie, James Cosmo, Stephen McCole and Samuel Robertson, with a screenplay by Colin McLaren and Richard Cowan.

Mark Adams, the new EIFF artistic director, said: "I'm trying to be relaxed about it but of course I am really excited for tonight to finally be here. It's such a long time in the planning process but when you finally get round to the opening night it is wonderful.

"It's the perfect film for us. It's one of our patrons, it's a great Scottish cast, it's wonderful performances, it's beautifully written and there is a lot of fun involved."

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