Edinburgh Film Festival: 12yo ready for Tommy’s Honour debut

Dylan Neilson alongside director Jason Connery . Picture: contributed
Dylan Neilson alongside director Jason Connery . Picture: contributed
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AS far as big screen debuts go, one city schoolboy has it down to a tee.

Dylan Neilson, 12, of Bellevue, has landed a role in the Jason Connery-directed Tommy’s Honour, which boasts a stellar cast including Hollywood star Sam Neill and Peter Mullan.

Young Edinburgh actor Dylan Neilson at his costume fitting for the film. Picture: contributed

Young Edinburgh actor Dylan Neilson at his costume fitting for the film. Picture: contributed

The period drama focuses on the stormy relationship between golf’s founding father, Old Tom Morris, and his equally gifted sportsman son.

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St Thomas of Aquin’s student Dylan, who will be attending the film’s premiere at the opening of the Edinburgh International Film Festival tomorrow, described appearing in the film as the “proudest achievement of my life”.

Dylan, who plays Old Tom’s other son, Jamie, in the film, said: “It was a great opportunity but also a really fun experience. I always wanted to be an actor but meeting Jason has made me even more determined.

It was a great opportunity but also a really fun experience. I always wanted to be an actor but meeting Jason has made me even more determined.

Dylan Neilson

“He game me some advice – ‘Just keep your head down and go with it’.”

Proud mum Naomi Neilson prepared Dylan for meeting Connery by showing him episodes of the hit 1980s series Robin of Sherwood, in which he played the hero.

She revealed that the youngster – who met the 53-year-old son of Sir Sean Connery during the costume-fitting ahead of last summer’s filming – was taken aback to discover the star was no longer sporting the same mane of blond hair.

Actress Naomi, 44, added: “Dylan’s always loved performing on stage but hadn’t done a film before. Jason Connery was amazing.

'Old Tom' Morris. File picture: comp

'Old Tom' Morris. File picture: comp

“He was absolutely brilliant with the kids and really funny.

“He made the experience really fun. Dylan often said ‘I really like acting’ but this inspired him to pursue it.”

Tommy’s Honour follows Old Tom Morris’ (Mullan) relationship with son Tommy (Jack Lowden), who matched his father’s sporting achievements.

However, despite their shared passion, the pair clash over the unwritten rules of social class, culminating in Tommy’s marriage to a woman of lower standing who hides a shameful secret.

Tommy must choose between family loyalty and his dreams of forging his own path with the woman he loves.

Dylan, who was 11 when filming started, appears in the family scenes in the early part of the film, and is seen in church and studying at home.

The youngster has been attending Strange Town Youth Theatre for the three years and has impressed creative director Ruth Hollyman.

She said: “He is a very natural actor and his performances are very truthful which is why he got the role. It’s horribly competitive in the acting world but he’s got the talent and the drive to make it. There is nothing fake about him and he is able to take those lines and speak them as if he is the character.”

Dylan’s younger brother, Harvey, met with Danny Boyle recently for a small part in Trainspotting 2, while his parents run city-based production company Filming Scotland.

• Tommy’s Honour screens at 8.55pm on Wednesday June 15. More info/bookings: http://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/news/2016/04/tommys_honour