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Rising U.K. Stars Jack O’Connell, Sheridan Smith & Russell Tovey Lead Urban Thriller ‘Tower Block’

Rising U.K. Stars Jack O'Connell, Sheridan Smith & Russell Tovey Lead Urban Thriller 'Tower Block'

We’re a couple of weeks away from finding out if “Attack The Block” will manage to connect with U.S. audiences, but regardless, both that and the Michael Caine vehicle “Harry Brown” seem to have made the humble British council estate a setting for genre fare as much as gritty dramas. Filming will kick off next week on another possible example that hopes to follow their success, and it’s got a promising cast on board.

Screen Daily reports that shooting is imminent on “Tower Block,” an urban thriller from the pen of James Moran, whose credits include “Doctor Who” and “Torchwood,” as well as the cult horror-comedy “Severance” and the upcoming “Cockneys Vs. Zombies.” The plot, according to Den of Geek, revolves around the inhabitants of the titular Tower Block 31, who witness a murder, but are too scared to come forward. A year later, a sniper begins targeting them, and they’re forced into a battle for survival.

The film marks the directorial debut of Ronnie Thompson and James Nunn, something of a colorful pairing: Thompson is a former prison officer who wrote and produced the adaptation of his own memoirs, “Screwed,” which hit a few U.K. cinemas recently, while Nunn is a veteran 1st assistant director who worked on both that film and “Cockneys Vs. Zombies.” More promisingly, they’ve lined up a decent cast, of mostly rising stars, including Jack O’Connell, Sheridan Smith, Russell Tovey and Ralph Brown.

O’Connell is one of the more successful graduates of the second casting line-up of TV hit “Skins,” following in the footsteps of Dev Patel and Nicholas Hoult: he cropped up in “This Is England” before that, and has subsequently given some strong performances in “Eden Lake,” “Harry Brown,” the superb TV drama “Dive” and “United,” while he’s just wrapped the lead role in the Bryan Singer-produced thriller “uwantme2killhim.” Smith’s a veteran theater and TV actress, who won an Olivier for the lead role in the U.K. production of “Legally Blonde,” while Tovey is the star of cult sci-fi series “Being Human,” as well as appearing in “The History Boys.” Brown meanwhile, will always be remembered as drug dealer Danny in “Withnail & I,” but other credits include “Alien³,” “The Crying Game,” “Wayne’s World 2,” “The Phantom Menace” and “Pirate Radio.”

Moran promises on his blog that more casting is on the way, but it’s a pretty good start so far. Filming starts in East London on July 18th, and we should see this sometime in 2012.

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