Amma Asante’s period drama will also feature Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Miranda Richardson and Mathew Goode.

Bankside Films’ UK period drama Belle from writer-director Amma Asante and The Iron Lady producer Damian Jones, will star Touch actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a mixed-race woman raised as an aristocratic lady in 18th century England.

Belle’s cousin will be played by Cosmopolis star Sarah Gadon, while Sam Claflin will play the love interest.

Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Miranda Richardson and Mathew Goode are also on board in supporting roles.

Principal photography is due to get underway in September, 2012.

Bankside’s head of sales and marketing, Stephen Kelliher, said: “Belle is a truly special project which we believe can go on to achieve the very highest of accolades. The story delivers everything we expect from an Austin-esque period piece but the challenges Belle faces in life will ensure that the film is incredibly relevant to audiences today. The quality of the cast perfectly reflects the quality of this film.”

“’We are thrilled with this pedigree of talent which, along with Amma’s vision, will do justice to this important love story that resonates today with its issues of colour and class,” added producer Damian Jones.

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