Long-awaited Martin Scorsese epic The Irishman is in UK cinemas now – but did you know the subject of the film – a violent mobster – is apparently a relative of Ed Sheeran, one of our best loved pop stars?
That is, according to This is England star Stephen Graham anyway, who acts in the Netflix blockbuster alongside acting heavyweights Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
The movie trails the life of mob henchman Frank Sheeran, played by De Niro, who had ties with the Bufalino Crime family and claims to have killed infamous trade unionist Jimmy Hoffa, played by Pacino.
Hoffa disappeared in 1975 before being declared legally dead in 1982 – though his body has never been found.
Here is what Line of Duty star Graham had to say on the matter while promoting the movie with an appearance on BBC’s The One Show.
He said: “It’s all based on true events - Frank ...Sheeran - I think of Ed Sheeran - apparently they’re related, you know. Honest to God – I swear on my nana’s life.
“That’s what Ed said, he says it’s his distant uncle.”
However, Graham’s claims of a connection between the Suffolk-based pop star and The Irishman of the film, appear to be unfounded. Speaking to the MailOnline, a team of expert genealogists have disputed a link between the two Sheerans, saying “birth, marriage and death records in Britain and America dating back to 1845 show no direct link between the two men.”
Frank Sheeran’s parents and grandparents were all US-born according to records, but his great-grandfather may have originated from Ireland, so if Ed and Frank do share a family link then it would have to be via marriage from the 18th century or earlier.
This means the closest relation they could be is fourth cousins.
Discussing the movie, and how it felt to be involved, the Liverpool-born actor said: “It was a wonderful experience for me.
“As a young lad growing up in Liverpool you never think you're going to achieve these things let alone meet these people, talk to them, but to acting with them would have been beyond my comprehension.
“There were no egos, just lovely men and generous actors.”
The Irishman is in select UK cinemas now and will stream on Netflix from 27 November.