EXCLUSIVE: Chiller about a young man who sees dead people to shoot this summer.

Gateway Films, Ratio:Film and NoW Films have announced that pre-production will commence on feature film The Messenger following casting, which is now taking place. Shooting will begin summer 2014.

Shooting on location in the UK, The Messenger is written by Andrew Kirk and developed by Michael Knowles, with Richard Turner and Richard Hart and has double BAFTA and Emmy award-winning director David Blair attached to the project.

Blair is best known for directing episodes of Jimmy McGovern’s award-winning BBC dramas including The Street and Accused, as well as period TV movie Bert and Dickie, starring Matt Smith, and feature Best Laid Plans.

The Messenger centres on Jack, a young man who has been in and out of secure units all his life, given drugs to try and shut out his visions of the dead. He becomes unwillingly embroiled in the unfinished business of Mark, a journalist brutally murdered in the local park and his television presenter wife, Sarah, to whom he’s desperate to say one last goodbye.

Jack finds himself getting closer to Sarah, obsessed with passing on Mark’s message. Discovering hidden secrets and lies finally pushes the fragile Jack over the edge but there is hope when his estranged sister, Emma, gets in touch. Jack starts to remember the past they shared together and as the memories come flooding back, he starts to confront the truth about the death of his father.

Speaking about who will star, Richard Turner of Ratio:Film said: “We have interest from a number of high profile prospective cast.  We can’t say whom at this point as negotiations are at an early stage, but we are happy that the script is reading well with those we have approached.”

Terry Stone of Gateway Films added: “The Messenger is a chilling story of a young man plagued by the demands of the dead and we are talking with a young artist who will be fantastic in the lead role of Jack. We have an incredible script, an incredible team and a talented director behind the project and we can’t wait to get started.”

Richard Turner said: “The script has the same sensibility as The Sixth Sense. It confronts the question of whether those who see dead people are disturbed, are frauds or visionaries. The film will remain ambiguous in respect of the existence or otherwise of an after-life, but the story-telling will allow the audience to decide themselves as to the integrity of Jack.

“Having worked with David Blair before, I know what he can bring to what is already a well-developed and crafted script and so I’m really excited at the prospect of what we can achieve.”

 The Messenger is being executive produced by Omega Capital, Investor Profit Portfolio and The Wealth Advisory.