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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 20:19 GMT
DUP leader's life made into film
Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley's family has already held discussions about the film
The family of DUP leader Ian Paisley has revealed it has commissioned the writer Gary Mitchell to come up with a movie script about the DUP leader's life.

Some of the funding has been raised already and the family has said it will insist on using Northern Ireland talent.

Writer Gary Mitchell went public on Tuesday with the news that he had been commissioned to write the script.

He is well known for writing plays sympathetic to the loyalist community.

"I think it is a tremendous opportunity to explore and expose the great man and all his vices and all his virtues," he said.

The Paisley family say they have had preliminary discussions about the project, and that some money is on the table already.

Gary Mitchell has been commissioned to write the film's script
Gary Mitchell has been commissioned to write the film's script

Mr Mitchell said that although the actor who would play the the DUP leader was yet to be decided, they were hoping a major star would take on the role.

Liam Neeson has said he is interested in playing the part, but his dealings with the DUP in the past have been unpromising.

The party objected to him being offered the freedom of his home town of Ballymena and that led to the actor refusing the honour.

However, there is competition for Paisley the movie, a County Down film company has already won funding from the film and television commission to develop a script but it is thought the Paisley family is not involved in that project.

It is likely that Ian Paisley Junior will be executive producer on the project which has the approval of his family.

That may be one way of making sure that the story is told in a way which does not offend the DUP leader's supporters.

Maggie Taggart speaks to writer Gary Mitchell

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