Gemma Arterton to Lead David Blair’s Adventure Thriller ‘Storm Witch’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Gemma Arterton, the British stage and screen star perhaps best known for playing Bond girl Strawberry Fields in “Quantum of Solace,” is set to star in upcoming period adventure thriller “Storm Witch.”

The independent U.K./Ireland co-production, to be directed by David Blair (a BAFTA winner for “Taking Over the Asylum” and “The Street”) from a screenplay by Tristan de Vere Cole, is being launched at the Marche du Film in Cannes later this month, with Myriad Pictures handling pre-sales.

Arterton, who also starred in “The King’s Man” and recently appeared in the Toronto-bowing “The Critic,” will lead a cast that includes Chloe Pirrie (“The Queen’s Gambit”), Stuart Martin (“Army of Thieves”), Kate Dickie (“Prometheus”) Steven Cree (“Outlander”) and Kevin McKidd (“Grey’s Anatomy”). The film is set to be shot later this year, primarily in Ireland.

Set in the 17th century, “Storm Witch” centers on a small coastal community whose villagers find themselves drawn to and suspicious of Morag (Arterton), a remarkable but mysterious woman who is uniquely connected to the nature that surrounds her. Survival is a daily and all-consuming struggle that is thinly forged from an inclement sea and pushed to the edge of the land by merciless feudal landowners. But it is Morag’s passionate relationship with John Tullock (Martin), who is unwittingly pledged to marry Sinéad (Pirrie), that threatens to tear the community apart.

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“While attracted by the emotional and lyrical themes, it struck me that as well as telling of the past, the story lay down a sobering marker for the present,” said Blair, who recently directed three episodes of Irving Welsh’s “Crime” series. “A world where tolerance is at a premium and cynics seek out the vulnerable and the singularly distinctive, onto whom they can heap all their woes and prejudices.”

Blair added that the “rugged, unforgiving land and seascape,” would play a “vital role” in the movie, as would “character nuance and the strands of a narrative comprising religious, pagan and sexual idiosyncrasy; thus leading the actors to present an authentic representation of how lives were lived, and indeed disposed of, in the 17th Century.”

Myriad Pictures acquired rights for the thrilling feature from Galleon Films. Alice de Sousa of Galleon will produce with executive producers including Myriad’s Kirk D’Amico, alongside Blair and Andres Jauernick. 

“We look forward to working with David Blair, the producers, and cast on this production which explores the role of women at a different time, before modern science, when things that were unexplained were thought to be magic,” D’Amico said.

“On reading the gripping script for ‘Storm Witch’ I was struck by the atmospheric and haunting world of the story and by the suspenseful challenges faced by its characters who against all odds struggle for survival,” De Sousa added. “The violence against remarkable women, religious fanaticism and the crushing intolerance of ‘difference’ all reverberate strongly in our contemporary societies.”

This post was originally published on Variety

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