Colin Firth stars as Eric Lomax in ‘The Railway Man’, the story of a British Army officer who was taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War Two.
The Oscar-winning actor plays Lomax some years after the war, as he falls in love and marries – but is tormented by his memories. To prepare for the role, Firth spent time talking to Lomax himself, who died before the film was made.
“All the research I needed and all the understanding, all the things I needed to get my imagination going, came straight from Eric. And he was extremely trusting and very, very lucid and very courageous, really, in sharing what he shared,” said Firth.
British actor Jeremy Irvine co-stars alongside Firth as the young Lomax who was captured by the Japanese. He ended up in Thailand, where he was forced to build the infamous Burma Railway, also known as the ‘Death Railway’, along with 60,000 other allied prisoners of war.
Playing the same character meant that Firth and Irvine did not appear in the same scenes. But the pair worked closely together to make sure their portrayals of the veteran were consistent.
“Colin was incredibly generous and let me be a part of his process and invited me to his house. We rehearsed in his living room for many an afternoon of working on Eric’s voice and how we were going to get… Eric had this wonderful vulnerable quality, which I really love,” said Irvine.
Starring Nicole Kidman as Lomax’s wife, ‘The Railway Man’ follows the veteran as he dreams of revenge against his chief tormentor, whom he eventually meets after the war and forges a close relationship with. It is ultimately a story of reconciliation.
‘The Railway Man’ is on worldwide release from now.