Sir Sean Connery’s son Jason has revealed that a special screening of his new period drama about the “godfather of golf” will be laid on for the James Bond legend near his home in the Bahamas - after he missed out on the movie opening the 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival.
The 85-year-old, who has not been in Scotland since he stood down as a patron of the event in 2010, will be joined by other family members and friends at his local cinema for the gala next month.
The news was revealed by Jason Connery as he unveiled father-and-son drama Tommy’s Honour to a star-studded audience at the Festival Theatre, where Sir Sean bowed out of the festival with an emotional farewell six years ago.
Award-winning Scottish actor Peter Mullan and rising home-grown star Jack Lowden portray St Andrews-born Old Tom Morris - widely regarded as the founding father of the sport - and his son Tommy, who went on to match his Open championship-winning achievements in the 19th century, before dying tragically at the age of just 24.
Sex and the City favourite Kim Cattrall, leading British actresses Sadie Frost and Joanne Froggatt and Hollywood legend Meg Ryan are among the big names flying in. Leading Scottish stars taking part include Dougray Scott, Martin Compston, Brian Cox, James Cosmo and Shauna Macdonald.
Shot across more than 50 locations in Fife and East Lothian in just over a month, Tommy’s Honour is the fifth movie to be made by Jason Connery, who launched his own acting career more than 30 years ago.It explores the human story behind the two golfers who each won four Open tournaments in the 19th century.
The 53-year-old said: “I think the names of Old Tom and Young Tom Morris are really well known known in Scotland as entities, but I don’t think their actual story is or the impact they had on the world of golf.
“I remember my dad talking about St Andrews and he obviously knew the story of them. When I started talking to him about this project I just couldn’t believe it hadn’t been turned into a film before. But I never said I was making a golfing movie, golf was just the backdrop. He read the script and was very encouraging.
“It’s a family drama, it’s a love story and it’s also about all the stuff that was going on with the industrial revolution that was just beginning in the 19th century.
“I’m actually going to be doing a special premiere at a local cinema in the Bahamas right after the festival has finished. I talked with dad abouit it and I’m really excited about it. He has a lot of friends over there and my whole family is going to be there as well.”
Tommy’s Honour will book-end the 70th EIFF with another high-profile Scottish film, a remake of war-time comedy Whisky Galore, starring Gregor Fisher and Eddie Izzard.
Connery added: “We knew the film was going to be ready for the festival, but it was just fantastic for it to be chosen for the opening gala.
“We shot the film in St Andrews, East Lothian and Fife. I started out myself at Perth Rep, I went to school at Gordonstoun, I used to play golf with my dad at Gleneagles when he was in pro-celebrity tournaments and I have a cottage in the Borders.
“It just feels so good that it’s been chosen as the opening night film. I’ve been to the festival a lot over the years, but I’ve never actually been to the opening night. Mark Adams (the festival’s artistic director) has just been so supportive and lovely about it.
“It was pretty hard work and an intense shoot, but there is a real depth of talent in the film.
“Jack Lowden is going to be a really big actor and I wanted Peter for the role of Old Tom from day one. He is one of the best actors of his generation. He sees acting as a team sport - I totally agree with him.”
Mullan said: “I don’t people in Scotland really know who Old Tom Morris. I must admit I’d never heard of him before I started working on the film.
“Worldwide he’s probably better known than he is here. I was in Melbourne in Australia a few weeks ago - there’s even a street named after him there. We’re not as familiar with our own history as we should be. It’s a cultural and political issue.”
Mullan, whose most recent films include War Horse, Sunset Song and Sunshine on Leith, described his “old school” character as the polar opposite of his rebellious son.
He added: “Old Tom tugs his forelock and believes that you respect the upper classes and do as you’re told.
“Young Tom is a complete rebel - he was about a century before his time, to be honest. He was incredibly talented and he knew it. He used that to break though the class barriers. Golf was a working person’s sport that had been appropriated by the aristocracy as their own.
“He suddenly just shattered that whole illusion and became the world’s first professional golfer, which is extraordinary.”
Borders-born actor Lowden, who graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, admitted the opening night gala was his first appearance at a film festival. However forthcoming projects include starring alongside Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphy in epic new war-time film Dunkirk and portraying indie pop icon Morrissey in a new biopic.
He said: “Peter was such a lovely soul to work with. He has a lot of time for young actors and he is one of the very best that we have produced. It was an incredible experience, it really was.”