30 January 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
Pierce Brosnan boards Wee Buns and Ripple World Pictures' The Last Rifleman
03 Sep 2020 : Nathan Griffin
Actor Pierce Brosnan.
Written by Kevin Fitzpatrick and directed by Terry Loane (Mickybo and Me), Irish drama The Last Rifleman will be led by veteran Irish actor Pierce Brosnan (James Bond, Mamma Mia) with support from Northern Ireland Screen.

The film follows a World War II veteran living in a care home in Northern Ireland who, on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, decides to secretly escape and embark on an arduous journey to France, to pay his final respects to his best friend and find the courage to face the ghosts of his past.

The story is inspired by World War II veteran Bernard Jordan who, at the age of 89, escaped his care home in East Sussex, boarded a bus to Portsmouth, got on a ferry to France and made his way to Normandy for the 70th anniversary commemorations of the D-Day landings in June 2014.

Principal photography is due to begin on the film across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland this winter. The Last Rifleman is an cross boarder co-production with Katy Jackson and John Leslie from Wee Buns (Zoo) and Jacqueline Kerrin and Dominic Wright from Ripple World Pictures (Never Grow Old) both producing. UK distributor WestEnd Films recently acquiring the worldwide rights to the film, which it intends to show to buyers at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival.

Jacqueline Kerrin and Dominic Wright of RippleWorld Pictures told IFTN that they were delighted to reveal the news that Pierce Brosnan is set to star as Artie in their upcoming film.

“The Last Rifleman is an inspiring tale of the power of the human spirit to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, at any age,” the pair told IFTN. “Pierce Brosnan will bring the perfect combination of unrelenting determination, heartfelt pathos and warmth to Kevin Fitzpatrick's exceptional script. Director Terry Loane will deliver a film that will touch the hearts of audiences and WestEnd Films are the perfect partners to bring this special film to distributors worldwide, and to be working with our good friends at Wee Buns again with whom we made Zoo.”

Speaking with Variety, writer Kevin Fitzpatrick said:

“Bernard Jordan’s daring journey caught the nation’s attention and highlighted the spirit that epitomised the Second World War generation. I was enthralled by this story and the motives that drive a man near the end of his life on a quest to a place that must hold only painful memories.”

Director Terry Loane added:

“With the recent anniversary of the end of WW2, I feel the timing is perfect to tell this story, while an ever-diminishing handful of veterans are still with us to share their lives.”

The film is supported by Northern Ireland Screen with Mark Huffam (Mamma Mia), Eloise Singer (Rare Beasts), and Kevin Jackson (The Truth Commissioner) featuring as executive producers.

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