Kidman to portray Berwick woman

Australian actress Nicole Kidman who is taking over from Rachel Weisz in film adaptation of The Railway Man
Australian actress Nicole Kidman who is taking over from Rachel Weisz in film adaptation of The Railway Man

OSCAR winning actress Nicole Kidman is to portray Berwick resident Patti Lomax in the film of The Railway Man based on the book by her husband, Eric.

Kidman will co-star in the film with Colin Firth who recently visited the couple at their home in Berwick.

Patti and Eric Lomax

Patti and Eric Lomax

The announcement that Kidman is joining the cast of the film was made this week after actress Rachel Weisz had to pull out because of scheduling issues with reshoots of other movies she is making.

Jonathan Teplitzy is directing the film, which follows the harrowing real-life story of Eric Lomax, now aged 92. Taken prisoner by the Japanese forces during World War II, he was tortured and forced to work on the notorious “death railway” in what was then known as Burma.

War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine is on board to play the younger Lomax, with those scenes filmed on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Before that happens, Teplitzy and his crew will kick off shooting in Britain this April to make the post war sections of the film, which finds Eric and Patti facing up to the psychological scars of his captivity and finding some reconciliation with one of the Japanese officers.

It has not yet been stated whether filming will take place in Berwick but although Eric was born and brought up in Edinburgh, he and Patti have lived in Berwick for years.

After his meeting with Patti and Eric, Colin Firth said: “He was being tortured all over again.

“After you go through what he and others did, you never forget. It’s with you for ever. He’s an incredible man.”

It was Patti who set in motion the extraordinary event which led to Eric finally coming to terms with his dreadful experiences.

She wrote to the former Japanese officer her husband held responsible for his torture and the pair eventually met and reconciled.

The Railway Man is to be released next year. It will tell how Eric was captured in Singapore in February 1942, while a second lieutenant with the Royal Signals. He, along with thousands of other allied POWs, was sent to the notorious Changi camp and from there to set to work on the infamous railway.

The inhuman treatment meted out by the Japanese caused the deaths of thousands of prisoners and civilian Asian labourers.

However after writing the book, Eric said: “Continuing to hate gets you nowhere. It just damages you as an individual.”