EXCLUSIVE: Origin Pictures recruits cast and Bankside Films for comedy-drama, set to shoot July 22.
Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan and newcomer Jo Yang have joined comedy-drama X PLUS Y, which gets underway on July 22.
Hawkins previously appeared with Marsan in Mike Leigh’s 2008 film, Happy Go Lucky.
ScreenDaily revealed in March that Asa Butterfield and Rafe Spall are attached to star.
Bankside Films are also on board the feature about a young maths genius (Butterfield) who has his logic thwarted by the one thing he can’t make sense of - love.
The film marks the feature directorial debut of Morgan Matthews, the acclaimed documentary-maker behind The Fallen and 7/7: One Day in London.
X PLUS Y is scripted by playwright James Graham (This House) and inspired by Matthews’ 2007 BAFTA-nominated BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds about gifted young children who take part in the maths Olympiad.
Butterfiled will play teenage maths prodigy Nathan and Rafe Spall his unconventional maths teacher. When Nathan’s Olympiad squad go to train in Taiwan, headed by squad leader Richard (Eddie Marsan), Nathan is faced with unexpected challenges - not least his new and unfamiliar feelings for his Chinese counterpart, played by newcomer Jo Yang. Sally Hawkins will play the role of Nathan’s mother.
Produced by Origin Pictures, Minnow Films, BBC Films and the BFI Film Fund, filming is set to take place in Sheffield, Cambridge and Taiwan. Backing comes from Head Gear Films, Screen Yorkshire and LipSync.
Producers are David Thompson (Mandela) and Laura Hastings-Smith (Hunger). Co-producer is Origin Pictures’ Ed Rubin and execs are Christine Langan, Joe Oppenheimer, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross and Lizzie Francke.
Matthews said: “After a five year journey of thought and preparation, I could not be happier at the prospect of going into production with the wonderful cast and crew we have assembled for X PLUS Y.
“I hope to bring to the big screen, some of the realism, empathy, humour and storytellling that I’ve experienced through years of making documentaries – especially the understanding I gained whilst filming the extraordinary individuals on their real-life journey to the Mathematical Olympiad.”
Origin’s Thompson and Rubin said: “We are thrilled to be embarking on this debut film from two exceptional talents in Morgan and James, and with such a wonderful cast. This terrific project very much fulfils Origin’s strategy of helping to bring great British talent to the big screen – in films that are uplifting and have real emotional heart.”
Lizzie Francke, senior executive in the BFI Film Fund, said: “Morgan has made such an important mark with his inspirational documentaries while James is one of the strongest voices to emerge out of theatre in recent years.
“Morgan came to us with the idea of adapting his documentary Beautiful Young Minds into a drama just over five years ago and it is fantastic, and one of the great pleasures of the job here, to see the film now enter production.”
Origin is currently in production on comedy What We Did On Our Holiday and post-production on Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, starring Idris Elba.
TV projects Death Comes to Pemberley and Jamaica Inn are both with BBC One.