Ed Byrne, currently performing his new comedy show If I’m Honest at the Edinburgh Fringe, has revealed he will take on the role of Alastair Campbell in upcoming Alan McGee biopic, Creation Stories.
Creation Stories is an adaption of the acclaimed McGee autobiography penned by Irvine Welsh. Directed by Nick Moran (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), it tells the story of McGee’s career as a music executive in the 1990s, when he brought us bands like Oasis, Primal Scream and the Jesus and Mary Chain, among others.
Byrne says he plays Alastair Campbell, including a scene where Oasis visits Downing Street. He made the revelation on Kate Thornton's White Wine Question Time podcast and says he struggled to choose which of Campbell's accents to use.
“I went hard on the Burnley accent,” the Irish funnyman said. “His accent actually varies from quite the posh Westminster sort of corridors-of-power, quite respectable, neutral British accent to when he’s being the man of the people...”
“I thought if I do exactly what he does and flip-flop between the two accents, people are just going to think I don't know what I'm doing. The more accurate I would be, the less convincing I'd sound, so I said, let's just pick one. I've found that the Burnley one was just slightly easier to do.”
Even though Byrne has appeared in movies before, he said playing Alastair was a whole new experience.
“I'm a lot shorter than he is, so that’s a nice stretch,” he told Kate. “I mean I've done a bit of acting before, but I've never played a real person before.”
He also believes he was not necessarily the first choice for the role.
“Nick Moran is the director and I've met him on a few occasions. I think to be honest with you… he got let down,” Byrne revealed.
“I got called 'Will you come and play Alastair Campbell?' I said yes. And this was on a Tuesday and he said, ‘Are you free next Tuesday?’”
“You were deep down on the list” laughed fellow comedian and podcast guest, JJ Whitehead.
Podcast host Kate revealed she had worked with former spin doctor Campbell when he was the political editor on The Mirror. One of her roles was making tea for the journalists, who also included TV presenter Anne Robinson.
“I used to make Anne her tea and she would never look up and acknowledge me,” recalled Kate. “Whereas Alastair actually always had time to say thank you and was terribly polite.”