Steve Coogan to Star in South African Apartheid-Era Court Drama

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Steve Coogan

'Shepherds and Butchers,' which WestEnd Films is taking to Cannes' Film Market, will be Oliver Schmitz' fourth feature.

British comic actor Steve Coogan (Philomena), who was recently among the favorites to replace Jeremy Clarkson in the Top Gear hot seat, is set to star in South African drama Shepherds and Butchers, it was announced Tuesday.

Director Oliver Schmitz’s fourth feature, based on a script by Brian Cox and adapted from the 2008 novel by Chris Marnewick, sees a jaded defense lawyer in Apartheid-era South Africa take on the case of a white prison guard working on death row who killed seven people in an incident of road rage.

Principal photography on the film is set to start June 15 in South Africa. Cox is producing alongside Anant Singh (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) for Distant Horizon and Videovision Entertainment. Sudhir Pragjee, Sanjeev Singh and Basil Ford are executive producing.

London-based WestEnd Films is looking after Shepherds and Butchers’ international sales, which will kick off in Cannes next month.

"We are pleased to be working with WestEnd Films as Eve, Sharon and their team are passionate about our film," said Singh in a statement. "We have been friends for a long time and have acquired their films for distribution for many years."

Coogan, who will be heard in the upcoming Despicable Me animated spinoff, Minions, also is starring in Showtime’s new comedy series Happyish, having replaced the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.