Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton to Star in Vampire Pic 'Byzantium' (Cannes)

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CANNES -- Oscar winning filmmaker Neil Jordan is reuniting with producer Stephen Woolley to make Byzantium, a female vampire movie with Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton as the lead bloodsuckers.

The original script is penned by Moira Buffini and details the story of a mother vampire who turns her own daughter into a vampire and the pair form a lethal partnership, sometimes posing as sisters.

The £8 million ($11 million) budgeted movie is set to shoot in October.

Jordan and Woolley have made several movies dating back to 1984’s The Company of Wolves, based on Angela Carter’s novel.

Woolley produced Jordan’s Oscar winning The Crying Game also and last worked together on Breakfast on Pluto in 2005.

“I love the horror genre and we’ve been working on this for three or four years. I sent it to Neil and he liked the script,” Woolley said. “We’d both recently revisited Angela Carter’s book and it was just chance that when I called [Jordan], we were thinking along the same lines.”

The original script is based on a youth theater play by Buffini but has been taken to a slightly more adult, darker level, Woolley said.

Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen’s Number 9 Films production banner is gearing up to shoot its $17 million budgeted Mike Newell directed adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, penned by David Nicholls.

Cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Irvine.

It is backed by BBC Films and the British Film Institute, which now has lottery funding duties since the end of the U.K. Film Council. It is being sold here by Hanway Films.

Along with Number 9 Films production banner partner Elizabeth Karlsen, the company is gearing up to give longtime assistant and Number 9 stalwart Joanna Laurie her first taste of filmmaking.

Laurie is producing Hyena, an alternate London cops thriller written and directed by Gerard Johnson. Billed as a police noir inspired by Jean-Pierre Melville, one of the forerunners of the French New Wave, the film is set in contemporary West London amongst the Turkish and Albanian communities of asylum seekers.

It is being developed with Film4, the broadcaster’s standalone movie-making unit and marks Johnson’s second big screen outing and will star Peter Ferdinando.

Ferdinando appeared in Johnson’s debut horror thriller, Tony, about a serial killer in a rundown suburb of London. It is being sold at the Marche du Film by Independent.

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