The writer of a new Hollywood movie has described the casting of Gerard Butler as an Arbroath lighthouse keeper as “a dream come true”.
As revealed in The Courier on Friday, Butler will play James Ducat, who was one of three men to vanish without a trace from the island of Eilean Mor in the Outer Hebrides in 1900.
Ducat, a 43-year-old with more than 20 years’ experience in lighthouse keeping, had arrived on the deserted island to man the lighthouse with two other men, Thomas Marshall and Donald McArthur.
It has been more than a century since the Eilean Mor lighthouse keepers’ mysterious disappearance and the true events of what happened to the men remain unknown.
Joe Bone, who made a name for himself as the star of the one-man Bruce Bane stage play series, wrote Keepers with fellow actor Celyn Jones, who he met on the set of BBC television drama, Castles in the Sky, in 2013.
He said: “The script took about 18 months to do but it all started about 10 years ago, as I was sitting on the downs watching the revolving beam of St Catherine’s Lighthouse.
“It got me thinking about what was going on inside there.
“I then discovered the tale of Flannan Isle and the keepers who went missing, never to be seen again.
“What a yarn, I thought.
“That could make a great movie.”
Joe said he and Celyn had already compiled a wish list of who they would want in the film if it ever got the green light — and Butler and Mullan were on it.
“It’s a complete dream come true,” he said.
“This sort of thing doesn’t happen with your first attempt.”
The plot of Keepers suggests that the men stumble upon something that isn’t theirs to keep. A battle for survival ensues as personal greed replaces loyalty and three honest men are led down a path to destruction.
Director Nyholm calls the film “a journey from innocence to animalistic survival”.
The mystery of Eilean Mor has previously inspired an episode of Doctor Who entitled Horror of Fang Rock, which explained the mystery with an alien abduction.
The Courier reported the Eilean Mor lighthouse mystery in its paper on December 28 1900, describing it as an “unprecedented calamity” in the history of the Northern Lighthouse Commission.
The article speculated that the incident happened during the day and that it is possible the men had been blown off the cliffs.
The lighthouse log was kept up to date until December 15. The final entry read: ‘Storm ended, sea calm. God is over all.’
However in the days running up to the men’s disappearance some strange entries had been made. One said ‘James Ducat irritable’ another said ‘Donald McArthur crying’.
Mr Ducat had a wife and four children as well as a father who still lived in Arbroath.
The family later received the proceeds of certain life insurance policies and Mr Ducat’s wife also received a small pension.