The inside story

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 April, 2010, 12:00am

Upcoming thriller The Ghost Writer is written by a former journalist who had inside information on British politics.

In the film, a successful British writer is offered the job of ghost-writing the memoirs of former British prime minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). But the project seems doomed from the start - not least because the former ghost writer died under mysterious circumstances.

After initially rejecting the offer, The Ghost Writer (Ewan McGregor) agrees to take on the task. His agent assures him it's the opportunity of a lifetime, and that he will be well rewarded.

In the middle of winter, The Ghost Writer flies to an island off the American coast to work on the project. But the day after he arrives, a former British cabinet minister accuses Lang of authorising the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over to the CIA for torture.

As The Ghost Writer starts his work, he begins to uncover clues which suggest his predecessor may have stumbled upon a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA. And this information seems to be hidden in the manuscript he left behind.

Was Lang serving the American intelligence agency while he was prime minister? And was The Ghost Writer's predecessor murdered because of the appalling truth he uncovered?

In a world where no one can be trusted, The Ghost Writer quickly discovers that the past can be deadly, and that history is decided by whoever stays alive to write it.

Based on the novel The Ghost by best-selling author Robert Harris, the film tells a thrilling story of deceit and betrayal which may remind moviegoers of former British prime minister Tony Blair and the war in Iraq.

In early 2007, Harris, a former political editor, quit his job to write the book.

Harris is a big fan of the thrillers directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

'The way an ordinary guy gets plunged into a completely strange world, yet every step of what happens is completely logical ... I like that genre,' he says.

As a political journalist close to Blair just before and after he became prime minister, Harris was at the centre of British politics.

'I acquired a lot of information on the inside track. I got access which no journalist got at that time, let alone a novelist,' he says.

The Ghost Writer opens on April 22