Barney Thomson
Character: Barney
Original Release: July 24, 2015 (UK)
Directed by: Robert Carlyle
Written by: Richard Cowan, Colin McLaren, Douglas Lindsay
Produced by: John G. Lenic, Kaleena Kiff, Brian Coffey, Holly Brydson, Richard Cowan
Running Time: 96 minutes
Box Office: $1,329,376 (US)

Barney Thomson, awkward, diffident, Glasgow barber, lives a life of desperate mediocrity and his uninteresting life is about to go from 0 to 60 in five seconds, as he enters the grotesque and comically absurd world of the serial killer.

Cast & Characters

Emma Thomson (Cemolina), James Cosmo (James Henderson), Ray Winstone (Holdall), Ashely Jensen (Detective Inspector June Robertson), Martin Compston (Chris), Kevin Guthrie (MacPherson), Tom Courtenay (Chief Superintendent McManaman), Brian Pettifer (Charlie), Samuel Robertson (Detective Sergeant Sam Jobson), Stephen McCole (Wullie)

Photo Gallery
Filming Dates: June 6, 2014 - July 9, 2014
Filming Locations:
  • Bridgeton Cross, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • Red Road Flats, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • 11 Olympia Street, Bridgeton Cross, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • The Legend of Barney Thomson is Robert Carlyle's first film as director, although he has directed an episode of SGU: Star Gate Universe.)
  • Despite playing his mother, Emma Thompson is only 2 years older than Robert Carlyle. Thompson is born in 1959, Carlyle is born in 1961.
  • Near the beginning of the film, Barney asks the three men in the barbers why "none of you want your hair to get me?" When he says "By me?" he flourishes his hands similar to his (Robert Carlyle) character of Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon a Time.
  • Robert saw Kevin Guthrie in "Sunshine On Leith" and choosed to cast him for his directorial debut.

Memorable Quotes

Barney: I'm 50 years old, got nothing to show for it. Live in this shitey flat, not had a ride since Shakin Stephens had a number one, a mother who sticks her claws in like an old buzzard. A man by rights should live to reach his full potential and have a kick at the ball.

Barney: His Freezer was too wee!

Quotes from Cast & Crew

"It's great to see my book made flesh, I'm very happy. I wrote it while basking in the sun in Senegal so that may be why Glasgow's dreicher in it but I like the fact that it's being filmed in Glasgow."
- Douglas Lindsay

"I hope we do it justice, I hope we make you proud."
- Robert Carlyle

"Bobby is a son of this city and people are pleased to see him. For Bobby this is a movie about his home town, it's built into the fabric of the city he loves. He's very well connected and when you start a movie it's all about relationships. Bobby's relationships are very deep and he showed it to people he wanted to get involved and that definitely helped bring Ray Winstone and Emma Thompson on board."
- Richard Cowan

“Seeing Bobby really sparked my interest in acting, and I also remember watching "My Name Is Joe". One of the dinner ladies at my school was in it so I remember people were really talking about it. But Peter’s performance in that is, I think, one of the greatest Scottish screen performances ever. It’s so wonderful and heartfelt – and tough.”
- Kevin Guthrie

"He is an amazing bloke, an absolutely extraordinary bloke, and it was such a treat that he was directing as well acting because it meant that he was there all the time and we had access to him and to the way he thinks. He’s such a great thinker.”
- Emma Thomson

"I loved the very badly applied mascara and lippy on her teeth. All of us in make up and prosthetics were sniggering to ourselves. She is one of my favourite parts, one of the best that I have ever played. I just adored it. It was an amazing experience. As soon as read the first few pages of the script and I came across the line about Barney looking like a haunted tree that absolutely sold me. I didn’t even wait, I just rang up my agent and said, 'I have got to do this.' It was like when I first read Tutti Frutti. My mother and I read it when we were on a plane to somewhere and she said, ‘Em, this writing, John Byrne!’ And this too was fantastically brilliant and very, very rich but also so funny."
- Emma Thomson

"After a career-long association with EIFF it gives me enormous pleasure to have The Legend of Barney Thomson chosen as Opening Night film. It really is such an honour for me to have my first feature as director premiered here in Edinburgh at the Festival that has played such a huge part in my life."
- Robert Carlyle

"We are thrilled to be opening this year's Festival with Robert Carlyle's wonderful black comedy. It is a marvellously macabre and playful film, impressively directed and with a terrific cast. It is the perfect film to kick off what promises to be an exciting festival."
- Mark Adams, Artistic Director of EIFF

"It was very important for me to have that, I always thought if I was going to make a film, I would make it in my home town. I deliberately chose places like Shawfield dog track, the Barrowlands, the Sarry Heid pub, Red Road flats, because these places are dying, they may not be here much longer - Barrowlands is threatened with closure, the Red Road is coming down, this is the last time you might see these places in the town. I saw it in a particular way - I have been in Canada the last seven years, doing American TV and all that, and I have been seeing a lot of the places I knew, they are gone now. It was important to me as a Glaswegian to document that. I think we need a studio, for sure, that would put us up there with the rest of the cities in the UK, there's no doubt that we we need that - whether its in Glasgow, Cumbernauld or Edinburgh, it doesn't matter to me, as long as we have one. It's important."
- Robert Carlyle

Awards & Nominations

BAFTA Scotland Award as Best Feature Film
BAFTA Scotland Award as Best Actress - Emma Thompson
BAFTA Scotland Award as Best Actor - Robert Carlyle
BAFTA Scotland Award as Best Directing in Film or Television - Robert Carlyle
Canadian Cinema Editors Awards as Best Editing in Feature Film
Edinburgh International Film Festival as The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film
Evening Standard British Film Awards as Best Comedy - Emma Thompson
Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festival as Audience Award - Robert Carlyle
Women Film Critics Circle Awards as Mommie Dearest Worst Screen Mom of the Year Award - Emma Thompson

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