Jim Sheridan To Tackle Lockerbie Bombing

In The Name Of The Father man penning a drama

The story of the Lockerbie bombing is a bleak chapter in British history that remains raw in the extreme. News then, via The Hollywood Reporter, that Jim Sheridan is planning to make a film inspired by the events of 1988 will stir a mixture of emotions in those affected.

The Irishman, who has a strong track record in directing true-life stories, notably with My Left Foot and In The Name Of The Father, with skill and sensitivity, is promising “a drama basically looking at the effect on a family of terrorism”. Eschewing the idea of a United 93-style in medias res thriller, the yet-unnamed script by the Oscar winner and Irish screenwriter Audrey O’Reilly will tackle the aftermath of the terrorist bombing that cost the lives of 270 passengers and residents of the Scottish town.

The film would centre on Jim Swire, a real-life English doctor whose daughter died when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Scotland en route from London to New York. He took up the campaign to bring those responsible to justice, a hunt that soon led to Libya where Swire met alleged Libyan intel agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Megrahi, jailed for the act of terrorism, was allowed to return to Libya on compassionate grounds in 2012 when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The events of 1988 continue to occupy front pages, however, with Iran and Syrian terrorist groups linked with the bombing.

“It’s scary what they didn’t reveal to us at the time," Sheridan said. "It doesn’t really matter, the people are dead and you can’t bring them back to life. But in the future, we need clear investigations of these things or else you’re going to end up with [Malaysia Airlines] flight MH370."

Plenty, then, for Sheridan’s script to mull over: not least the guilt, or otherwise, of the convicted man as seen through the eyes of his victim. “It was this weird thing where you think you’ve found the person who killed your daughter", he explains, "and then Jim (Swire) ended up in the cell looking after him - because he’s a doctor and the guy wasn’t well - and it’s obvious as the nose on your face that Megrahi didn’t do it.”