The Portadown-born producer of the controversial film ‘A Belfast Story’ has conceded that the publicity pack for the movie – which contained a balaclava and nails – may have been a bit over the top.
But John Todd added, “Maybe the Press went too ballistic about the contents of the pack, and my son Nathan – director and script writer of the movie – has apologised if it offended anyone. But the blanket publicity will do no harm at the box office!”
The terrorist connotations are the reason for what the Press described as “a rather grim publicity stunt” with the 90-minutes movie opening today (Friday) in the UK and Ireland.
It stars Colm Meaney (Die Hard 2, Star Wars, The Commitments and Star Trek) and is the result of four years of work by the Todds and by the talented global production team and cast.
Nathan (27) is a graduate of Queen’s University in electrical engineering. But most of his waking hours since graduating have been taken up by preparing the script and making his directorial debut in a stunningly ambitious film.
He was delighted when an actor of Meaney’s status agreed to take the lead role, and it sort of mushroomed from there. Composers Nick Glennie and Mac Quayle (The Rock, Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean) wrote the incidental music; Cinematography was by Peter Holland (The Matrix); and Editor John Wright (Speed, The Incredible Hulk) did the needful.
Said John, who now lives in Indiana, “We don’t quite know how we managed it, but the experts lined up to help, and what started off as a low-budged Indie film is, we believe, something of a masterpiece.”
The publicity blurb gives an insight into the movie, describing it as “exploring life after terrorism. It is set in Belfast a few years after the troubles are supposed to have stopped. But old habits die hard, and what appears to be terrorism rears its ugly head again.” “But all isn’t what it appears,” said John, who doesn’t want to give away the plot. John Todd grew up in the Woodside area of Portadown and was educated at Thomas Street Public Elementary School and Portadown College, moving on to St Andrews and Oxford Universities. He became a world figure in journalism, reporting for the BBC and then for ‘Good Morning America’ having moved to California where he married.
Assignments included the 9/11 plans crashes, the Asian Tsunami and the Romanian Earthquake, with a plethora of awards.
Not bad for a lad who started off at the age of 14 as a “stringer” with the Portadown Times as our Birches and Portadown College correspondent. “He was a shining natural from the word go,” said retired editor David Armstrong, who set John in front of a typewriter for the first time.
And John hit the headlines a few years ago when he travelled to the Pacific Ocean Island of Midway, famed for its decisive battle during World War Two. For it meant that the intrepid traveller had visited every country on the face of Planet Earth, from - in alphabetical order - Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, around 250 in all. He is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most travelled man, and his highly-acclaimed book ‘Top of the World’ was the result.