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Asa Butterfield and Rafe Spall circle Origin Pictures' X + Y

EXCLUSIVE: Asa Butterfield attached, Rafe Spall in talks for Origin-produced drama due to shoot in the UK this summer.

Hugo and Ender’s Game star Asa Butterfield is attached to Origin Pictures drama X + Y.

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Rafe Spall, star of I Give it a Year and Prometheus, is in talks to join Butterfield on the project, which is due to shoot this summer.

Morgan Matthews will direct X + Y - inspired by his BAFTA-nominated BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds - a rites of passage drama about a teenage prodigy’s journey to the Mathematics Olympiad, and his quest to find a formula for love.

Screen first reported the project early last year.

James Graham, writer of acclaimed National Theatre play This House, has written the script. Producers are David Thompson, Ed Rubin and Four Lions producer Derrin Schlesinger with Mathews’ Minnow Films on board as co-producer. Development backers BBC Films and the BFI have also committed production backing. Casting director is Shaheen Baig.

Spall is in talks to play the tutor of maths genius Nathan. The production is out to cast on the roles of Nathan’s mother and his love interest. Shoot will primarily take place in UK, with the production weighing up additional locations in Taiwan and China.

Origin head David Thompson will be discussing the project with potential investors at the Hong Kong Film Mart later this month. Thompson previously told Screen: “The film has shades of Billy Elliot, which I was involved in commissioning. It is a very uplifting and affirmative love story about two hyper-clever and extraordinary teenagers from very different worlds.”

Acclaimed Britain in a Day director Matthews has been nominated for five TV BAFTAs, scooping one in 2009 for documentary The Fallen.

Origin is also developing What We Did On Our Holiday from writer-directors Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin and is a co-producer on buzzed-about Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk to Freedom.

TV productions Jamaica Inn and Death Comes to Pemberley were both recently greenlit by the BBC.

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