EXCLUSIVEColm Meaney has come on-board Nick Hamm’s The Journey as Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness opposite Timothy Spall as the late Sir Ian Paisley. The film is a fictional account of the extraordinary story of two implacable enemies in Northern Ireland — firebrand Democratic Unionist Party leader Paisley and  republican stalwart McGuinness— who are forced to take a short journey together in which they will take the biggest leap of faith and change the course of modern history. It is at this moment the two sworn enemies put their past actions behind them and begin to forge a friendship that would lead to them being known as “The Chuckle Brothers.”

Colin Bateman (Divorcing Jack) is writing the script with Hamm (Killing Bono) directing. Hamm, Mark Huffam (The Martian) and Piers Tempest (Like Minds) are producing. Stuart Ford’s IM Global is fully financing through its Acclaim specialty division with assistance from Northern Ireland Screen and will handle world sales. Shooting begins mid-September on location in Northern Ireland and Scotland.  Ford and Matt Jackson will act as exec producers.

The friendship between Paisley and McGuinness, whose rival parties fought each other for decades during the darkest days of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, is one of the more unlikely in modern politics. On Paisley’s death in last year, McGuinness fought back tears as he paid tribute to the reverend, saying “Once political opponents — I have lost a friend.”

IM Global has a slew of its own titles coming out of the gates including Secret In Their Eyes starring Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chewitel Eijofor, which STX is releasing domestically; Collide starring Nic Hoult, Felicity Jones, Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins and Incarnate starring Aaron Eckhardt which Universal is releasing.

Production on the timely project begins as Northern Ireland goes through arguably its biggest political crisis in years as it deals the fall-out from two recent killings that appear to bear paramilitary involvement.