Up and coming British It actor Jim Sturgess – he starred with Kevin Spacey in really clever film 21 last year, and is currently shooting The Way Back with Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan – won’t be too popular back at home with his remarks last week praising the IRA, saying some of the paramilitary group’s members are “the nicest people” he’s ever met. Sturgess was speaking in the context of his upcoming film 50 Dead Men Walking, which is due to open in the U.K. next month. The movie tells the story of the double agent Martin McGartland who was recruited by the British Special Branch to work inside the IRA. Sturgess met several former IRA members during filming in Belfast, and was impressed to say the least. “It was confusing for me, because I met what I believed were these thuggish terrorists from Belfast that blew places up in England — the IRA was presented to me like that — so when I met these people, and saw the human side, they were some of the nicest people I’d ever met,” Sturgess told Empire magazine. “So instantly you start trying to understand what it all meant for them, that they weren’t just doing it for violence’s sake. Some of them were genuinely nice, passionate people. “We were given kind of chaperones, these people who looked after us, who were ex-members of the IRA and we basically stayed with them for two weeks before we started.” You might remember that American actress McGowan was slammed last year for saying that she would have joined the IRA had she grown up in Belfast. Sturgess’ comments will undoubtedly cause the same ire in certain circles. The film is based on McGartland’s memoir. The IRA discovered he was working for the British in 1991. He’s escaped death a couple of times and is in hiding. There’s no U.S. release date as of yet for the film, but that will undoubtedly change.

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