EXCLUSIVE: Warp and Crab Apple produce the emotional story surrounding warship HMS Coventry, which was sunk during The Falklands War; Transmission pre-buys Australia-New Zealand.

Paul Bettany [pictured] is attached to play Captain Hart Dyke in Warp-Crab Apple thriller Destroyer, about the sinking of warship HMS Coventry during The Falklands War.

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Ealing Metro will be selling the UK film, which is also set to star Matthew Goode (Stoker, A Single Man).

Tom Shankland (The Children, WAZ) directs and also wrote the script, based on Hart Dyke’s memoirs. The story follows a young, maverick Captain (Bettany) and his crew as they make their suicidal last stand in the final hours of the war. Robin Gutch and Angus Lamont produce.

The shoot is scheduled for spring 2013 in the UK and Malta, and Ealing has pre-sold Australia-NZ to Transmission.

Destroyer would be the first theatrical feature based on the Falklands War for more than 20 years. In 1989 David Thewlis starred in Paul Greengrass film Resurrected and Colin Firth starred in the 1988 BBC TV film Tumbledown.

Also on Ealing Metro’s slate for AFM are post-production titles Better Living Through Chemistry and Nigeria-set love-story Half of A Yellow Sun. Nina Simone biopic, Nina, is currently shooting in LA. Ealing Metro will also be selling Julien Temple’s London: The Modern Babylon and in-development projects Bailout and Crooked House.

Natalie Brenner, EVP of Sales, said of Destroyer: “It’s been many years since the UK has produced a significant war film so it’s thrilling to be handling Destroyer which is one of the best projects we’ve read in a long time. Tom Shankland captures the intensity and suspense of a terrifying war experience from a uniquely human perspective that takes the audience on an exhilarating and emotional rollercoaster.”

Robin Gutch of Warp Films, said: “From the moment I first heard Tom Shankland’s pitch, I fell in love with the film. Tom’s vision of this story, and the cast and crew already joining us, should bring audiences a movie that combines intense emotion and almost unbearable suspense into a cinematic experience which should be unforgettable.”

Angus Lamont of Crab Apple Pictures added: “This is exactly the kind of project that I got in to the film industry for and it will truly be a privilege to tell the story of the crew of HMS Coventry.”