Jamie Bell, the child star of international hit Billy Elliot, is to head the cast of The Great War Project (working title), a supernatural action drama which tops the slate of Film and Music Entertainment (F.&.M.E.).

The picture is the story of eight young soldiers trapped in the WWI trenches who are systematically picked off by a killer who may not be human. Direction and screenplay is by first timer Michael J Bassett, whose short film credits include The Last Waltz (ITV/Carlton) and The Lightning Seed and Channel 4 documentary The Burning. His writing credits include Urban Gothic II for Channel 5, the BBC's Bugs and The Spice Factory's The Unblinking Eye.

Production began earlier this week on location near Prague, making it the first film to go into production by F.&.M.E., the UK production arm of German multi-media group F.A.M.E. AG. It is set up as a co-production with Potsdam-based Apollo ProMedia.

"We really wanted a commercial genre and a young team of actors, but who would also have broad teen appeal," said F.&.M.E. co-chief Mike Downey. Other cast include Andy Serkis who plays Gollum in the forthcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hugh O'Conor, Laurence, Matthew, Hans Matheson, Ruadhri Conro, Hugo Speer, Kris Marshall and Dean Lennox Kelly.

Rights are currently handled by parent company F.A.M.E. AG, although the producers are keeping their options open on putting the film out through the world sales route or an all territories deal.