He Starred in Shameless and Atonement. Is James McEvoy Perfect to Play Sheridan?

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Campbell

HE has starred in such television and big screen hits as Shameless, Atonement and the Last King of Scotland.

Now, having played a car thief, a soldier and a doctor, James McAvoy is being touted to take on the role of disgraced politician Tommy Sheridan.

The star is the favoured choice of author Denise Mina, who is in talks about selling the screenplay based on her novel on Sheridan's rise and dramatic fall.

The Scots author has already finished her book based on the life of the Glaswegian politician, which will be published next year.

And she named fellow Scot McAvoy, 32, as her first choice to play the leading role, saying he was 'perfect' for the job. Sheridan, 47, won damages of [pounds sterling]200,000 in a defamation case brought against the News of the World newspaper in 2006, which alleged he attended a Manchester sex club and had an affair.

But in 2009, the former MSP and his wife, Gail, were indicted on charges of perjury.

He was jailed for three years in January while the case against his wife was dropped.

Now Mrs Mina is in talks about selling the film rights to her novel based on Sheridan's downfall called Gods and Beasts, due out next year.

Though the central character is called Davie Gillespie, Mrs Mina said it is 'totally' based on the former Scottish Socialist Party leader.

She added: 'It is a novel based on the Sheridan trial. It is epic and operatic. You could not have made Tommy's story up. But everybody thought it didn't matter because "he's a good guy".'

Although she kept the figure of Sheridan the same, she has tampered with other characters in the story, including his wife Gail, 47.

She said: 'I've replaced Gail with a middleclass wife - because Gail is just not interesting enough as a character.'

For the book, she explored the case and interviewed many close to Sheridan. She said: 'I interviewed a lot of people for it - including many of Tommy's friends and former friends. Everybody seemed to have an opinion about Tommy.

'The irony is that when he got elected he asked the rest of the party to come clean about any skeletons in their cupboards in case the press got to know about them and they could retaliate first.

'But he didn't own up to his own skeletons - yet used other people's against them. How sinister is that?' She said the main point of the film 'will explore why Tommy did it'.

Mrs Mina added: 'I think Tommy became obsessed with his image as Tommy Sheridan the folk hero but Tommy the guy needed his own space.'

The 45-year-old crime novelist from Glasgow has written a number of other books and play, including the Garnethill trilogy. A screenplay of her novel The Field of Blood recently aired on BBC1 Scotland. …