Colin Firth and Jeremy Irving Share a Role in 'Railway Man'

The actors discuss their new film, in which they play the same character at different ages.
3:33 | 04/10/14

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Transcript for Colin Firth and Jeremy Irving Share a Role in 'Railway Man'
Colin firth and Jeremy Irvine, star in "The railway man," based on a true story. Collin and Jeremy play a british prisoner of war that was tortured. Decades later, he sets out to confront his tormentor. Thanks for being with us. Thank you. We were talking earlier. Colin, this is a chapter in history that people are unaware of. Myself included. I was moved to think I had never heard about this man, Eric Womack, or what so many soldiers went through. Did you have the same experience? I didn't know very much about it at all. It seems strangely left out of our -- not only curriculum in the schools. But out of film lore. You know, we have countless films about the second world war. But very little about what is taking place there. And given the scale of it and the number of people who died. And they actually called this the death railway. Some people said for every railway tie laid, a man died. I want to look at the clip. You play the younger and older versions of this man. And this is the point where Eric realizes what he is facing, in terms of the terrible task ahead of him. Let's take a look. Hundreds of miles. To Burma. Mountains and jungle. The british decided to build such a railway, it would be an act, not of engineering, but of extreme barbarity and cruelty. It was thought that those who did not die might wish they had. This guy, Eric, he wasn't a physical guy. He was an engineer. He was kind of a nerd. That makes this such a moving story. We're very used to seeing, you know, the Arnold schwarzenegger heroes. And here, you have a very ordinary, vulnerable, young man, put into the most extraordinary and horrific circumstances you can imagine. Colin, I want to ask, it had to be interesting playing this older and younger version. Did you collaborate on how you were going to portray this man in different phases of his life? Jeremy did all the work. I did what I always do. And he did colin firth better than I do. When you work in a movie, it's such a lonely process. There's a rehearsal. You turn up to work and you do whatever you prepared. Colin has been generous and let me share that process. He didn't have to do it. It was great to be there, as well. You have to wear contact lenses. We have different colored eyes. I didn't realize until that very moment. I want to end with this. Why should people see this movie? Well, I think that it's a part of the story of all of us. I think that, you know, people are still coming home from wars, as we speak. And it did -- it's very, very hard to come home, I think, emotionally. And this has already had a response from English soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and seeing that there is -- the film has shown them a man who is telling a true story of himself, that there is actually a future beyond the scars you bring home. The sacrifice involved. We should honor them all. Thank you for dropping by. "The railway man" is in theaters on Friday.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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