Pathé Productions has snapped up the UK rights for Japanese director Hideo Nakata’s Chatroom from WestEnd Films.

The youth-orientated thriller will star young British actors Aaron Johnson, Imogen Poots, Matthew Beard, Hannah Murray and Daniel Kaluuya.

Chatroom, which begins shooting next month, was written by playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh and produced by Alison Owen and Paul Trijbits at Ruby Films along with Laura Hastings-Smith.

Developed and co-financed by Film4, Chatroom is executive produced by WestEnd’s Sharon Harel Cohen, Eve Schoukroun, Maya Amsellem and Film4’s Katherine Butler.  The film is backed by Film4, the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund and Molinare.  WestEnd is co-financing and handling worldwide sales.

The story follows five teenagers who meet online and encourage each other’s destructive behaviour. Things get out of hand when one of the boys seizes the chance to erase his past.  

Cameron McCracken, managing director of Pathe UK, praised the idea of introducing “a great genre director to a smart script that taps into our paranoia about the internet.”

Although Pathe UK announced its decision to focus on developing and producing its own films rather than acquiring third-party titles in March, the company had been considering the title before it formed an alliance with Warner Entertainment UK.

McCracken said: “We’re aware of Enda Walsh and have worked a lot with Film 4 so everybody always wanted us to do this project.

“We are focused on production however if there’s a fantastic project, we would never rule out picking it up.”