Hollywood star Colin Firth hits town

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HOLLYWOOD magic has been sprinkled on Bo’ness this week with acting royalty Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman in town to film The Railway Man.

The Oscar winners were at Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway on Wednesday, along with renowned Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame.

It was the start of a three-day date at the popular tourist venue, which sees Bo’ness join filming locations in Thailand and Australia.

Schoolgirl Leigh Bloomfield (13) will be the envy of many a female, after ‘Mr Darcy’ himself got out of his chauffered Mercedes to pose for a picture with her and other locals. Leigh declared on Wednesday night on Facebook ‘so happy I met Colin Firth, must be the happiest girl in Bo’ness’.

After barely getting a wink of sleep Leigh was back to S2 Academy studies yesterday (Thursday).

Mum Audrey, of Leigh’s Sandwich Bar, told the Journal and Gazette the family had spent an hour trying to catch glimpses of the stars at filming.

It was just as Firth was about to get whisked away from the set at 7.30pm that Leigh, of Thirlestane, had her unforgettable encounter with the heart-throb.

“He seemed like a gentleman,” said Audrey. “She knew him right away from St Trinian’s and Pride and Prejudice.

“She was really shocked. She’s going back tonight to try and see Nicole!”

“The Railway Man” is the epic true bestselling story about Scottish war hero Eric Lomax (Firth), haunted by brutal memories from being forced to construct the Thai/Burma railway during World War II.

Years later, he meets the beautiful Patti (Kidman) on a train, who is determined to rid Eric of his demons.

The movie also stars Jeremy Irvine and Hiroyuki Sanada. Production insiders were tightlipped this week over which scenes were being shot at Bo’ness railway.

But there was excitement from John Evans, chairman of railway operator the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, at hosting the high-calibre movie.

“We jumped at the chance,” he said. “We are glad to be of help. It’s good publicity for us.”

“The Railway Man” could be hitting the silver screens in late 2013, and should cast and crew opt to unveil the finished work at the town’s Hippodrome cinema, they are assured of a warm welcome.

Lesley O’Hare of Falkirk Community Trust, who manages the Hippodrome, said: “It’s really exciting for Bo’ness that we have such high profile stars coming to film here.

“Maybe the film company will retain that local connection by holding the premiere at the Hippodrome, we’d be delighted to roll out the red carpet!”