Principal photography has commenced on DARK RIVER, the third feature film from writer/director CLIO BARNARD (The Arbor, The Selfish Giant), starring RUTH WILSON (The Affair, Saving Mr Banks), MARK STANLEY (Game of Thrones, Kajaki) and SEAN BEAN (The Martian, The Lord of The Rings).
DARK RIVER is produced by Clio Barnard’s long-term producer Tracy O’Riordan (The Arbor, The Selfish Giant) of Moonspun Films with Left Bank Pictures’ Lila Rawlings, Andy Harries and Suzanne Mackie executive producing. The film is backed by Film4, the BFI Film Fund, Screen Yorkshire and the Wellcome Trust and was developed by Film4, the BFI and the Wellcome Trust. Protagonist Pictures is handling world sales. Shooting will take place on location in Yorkshire for 5 weeks.
Following the death of her father, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns to her home village for the first time in 15 years, to claim the tenancy to the family farm she believes is rightfully hers. Once there she is confronted by a brother (Mark Stanley) she barely recognises, worn down by years of trying to keep the farm going, who is naturally hostile to her arrival and her claim over the tenancy. Their dispute unearths traumatic memories for Alice, memories which have remained dormant for years but which now threaten both of their futures.
Writer/director Clio Barnard has established herself as one of the UK’s most distinctive cinematic voices following rave reviews and awards for her feature-length debut The Arbor, a documentary about the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar, as well as her sophomore feature The Selfish Giant. The latter film followed two scrappy 13-year-old working-class friends in Bradford seeking their fortune by getting involved with a local scrap dealer and criminal. The film was a huge critical success on its release, launching at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and winning the British Film of the Year at the London Critics Circle Film Awards along with a host of other festival awards.
Clio Barnard was the first recipient of the Wellcome Trust Screenwriting Fellowship, in partnership with BFI and Film4, in 2013. DARK RIVER was developed during her year in residence at Wellcome when she had unparalleled access to experts in traumatic memory.
DARK RIVER reunites many of Clio Barnard’s long-term collaborators including production designer Helen Scott (Fish Tank, Red Road, The Selfish Giant); casting director Amy Hubbard (The Lord of The Rings trilogy, Homeland, The Arbor) winner of a BIFA for her casting of The Selfish Giant; costume designer Matthew Price(Wild Bill, The Arbor, The Selfish Giant); Tim Barker (The Deep Blue Sea, Bronson) responsible for sound on both The Arbor and The Selfish Giant; and Nick Fenton (Submarine, The Double) responsible for editing bothThe Arbor and The Selfish Giant.
Ruth Wilson’s career has been on the rise since her role as Alice Morgan in the psychological crime drama Luther. Since then, she has appeared in Anna Karenina, Suite Francaise, Saving Mr Banks opposite Tom Hanks, and in Locke as the voice of Katrina. A two-time Olivier Award winner for her theatre work in A Streetcar Named Desire and Anna Christie, Ruth was BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated for her role in the mini-series Jane Eyre and was awarded a Golden Globe for her role in the TV series The Affair. Ruth’s upcoming films include Osgood Perkins’ I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House and John Cameron Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties opposite Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning.
Mark Stanley’s film credits include Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mr. Turner. His well-received performances in TV projects include his portrayal of Grenn in Game of Thrones and Bill Sikes in Dickensian. His breakthrough role came in Paul Katis’ Kajaki (released as Kilo Two Bravo in the US).
Sean Bean’s 20 year career spans films, television, theatre and radio. His most prominent film roles include Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Alec Trevelyan in the James Bond film GoldenEye and Odysseus inTroy, as well as roles in Patriot Games, Ronin, National Treasure, North Country, The Island, Silent Hill, Black Death, Jupiter Ascending and The Martian. His TV performances include the portrayal of Richard Sharpe in the series Sharpe, the role of Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, and his Emmy-winning performance in Accused.
‘DARK RIVER is a visceral, haunting and lyrical story and we’re delighted to have assembled our regular collaborators to help bring Clio’s beautifully crafted script to life and welcome DOP, Adriano Goldman to the team. Ruth Wilson and Mark Stanley’s fearless commitment to the roles of rival siblings Alice and Joe leading up to the shoot is exciting to behold’ says producer Tracy O’Riordan.