Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness were once again in the company of Hollywood movie stars today as they entertained Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine and director Lord Attenborough at Stormont.
The meeting at Parliament Buildings took place on the eve of the world premiere of the two stars’ latest film 'Closing The Ring' in Belfast.
It also came a week after the Stormont First Minister and Deputy First Minister rubbed shoulders with Liam Neeson at a Manhattan penthouse reception during their visit to New York.
The meeting with Lord Attenborough, who shot 'Closing The Ring' in Belfast, and Shirley MacLaine was hastily arranged when it became apparent that Mr Paisley would not be able to make tomorrow night’s premiere.
Lord Attenborough said afterwards: “There was a possibility that the First Minister might have been able to come with Martin McGuinness to the premiere tomorrow night.
“Unfortunately he has to go to Westminster but he didn’t want to miss the meeting, so it was hastily arranged.
“To actually meet the two of them embodies an awful lot of what I care about.
“They are two men who passionately, almost violently, opposed each other for many years and human decency and common decency has resulted in them sitting round a table even if they don’t agree 100% with each other.
“That sets an example to Israel, to the Middle East and other trouble spots around the world.
“Unless we discover what they have discovered – that is to be able to place on the table a peaceful, humanistic environment, then people in the world are going to continue to blow each other up.
“I was very pleased to meet them both and see them relaxed in each other’s company.”
The stars of 'Closing The Ring' are due to return tomorrow to Stormont to meet Culture Minister Edwin Poots and Economy Minister Nigel Dodds.
They will discuss the film industry in the North, which this year has played host to a number of big budget productions, including the Tom Hanks-produced children’s science fiction movie 'City Of Ember' starring Bill Murray and Tim Robbins and also 'Man On The Run' featuring Ben Kingsley.