The Wee Man is 'emotional rollercoaster' for ex-gangster Paul Ferris


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The Independent Culture

Former Glasgow gangster Paul Ferris has said seeing a film about his life on the big screen was "an emotional rollercoaster".

The Wee Man, which stars Martin Compston as a younger Ferris, tells the story of how he entered the city's crime underworld, working his way up the ranks as an associate of Arthur "The Godfather" Thompson Sr.

Bullied as a child, Ferris claims he was born into a life of crime and the film makes allegations of police corruption and a feeling that there was no way out.

His close working relationship with Thompson Snr is said to have irritated the gangland boss's son, Arthur "Fat Boy" Thompson Jnr (played by Stephen McCole), causing rival boss Tam McGraw (John Hannah) to identify "a weak link".

Ferris, now 49, was cleared of the 1991 murder of Thompson Jr when a jury returned a not guilty verdict at the High Court in Glasgow, following one of Scotland's longest-running criminal trials at the time.

Thompson Snr "declared war" on Ferris after his son's death and, in an apparent "revenge attack", two of Ferris's friends, Joe Hanlon and Bobby Glover, were found dead on the day of Thompson Jr's funeral.

Ferris said: "It was very humbling (to see the film), I thought it was an emotional rollercoaster.

"The best way was to be up front and honest about it.

"During the first 15-20 minutes of it when I first saw it in London I felt as though I needed fresh air but I didn't want to give the wrong impression by standing up, because I was sitting at the front. To walk out might have made other people think 'where's he going', or 'what does he not like about the movie?'.

"I look back on it and it was trigger mechanisms from my childhood that I'd put to the back of my mind. Watching them unfold on the screen was a bit queasy. I felt like I needed to go for fresh air. I felt claustrophobic. I had that many emotions running through my mind.

"I don't think I was adequately prepared for it. I was the first guy out the door when it finished."