Academy Award-nominated director Roger Goldby is to make his feature debut with The Big Apple for UK-based Portman Entertainment.

Matthew Modine, John Simm and Timothy Spall are to star in the dark comedy about an Irishman who kidnaps the US president at the top of the world's tallest building.

Shooting on the £4.5m production is to start next January in New York and Canada, with UK outfit Flashlight producing.

Goldby was nominated for an Oscar in 1998 for his short film It's Good To Talk, about five people having trouble with telephones. Simm plays the kidnapper, while Modine is the US president and Spall a white supremacist.

Portman's sales slate also includes: The Quickie, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh; Paranoid, with Jessica Alba; and Saving Grace, which was successfully released in the US through Fine Line Features.