Principal photography started today on Second World War thriller 1939 starring Romola Garai and Bill Nighy.

1939 is writer/director Stephen Poliakoff's return to the cinema after a ten year absence. Previous feature films included Close My Eyes starring Clive Owen, Saskia Reeves and Alan Rickman.

The film will shoot on location in Norfolk and London for six and a half weeks and is a talkback THAMES production in association with Magic Light Pictures, funded by BBC Films, Quickfire Films, The UK Film Council and Screen East. The UK Film Council recently invested $1.6m in the film through its Premiere Fund.

1939 is produced by EMMY winner Barney Reisz (Elizabeth I) and Martin Pope (Lawless Heart). Executive Producer is Lorraine Heggessey, Chief Executive of Operations of talkbackTHAMES. Momentum Pictures has acquired theatrical and home entertainment rights for the UK.

Romola Garai (Atonement) takes the lead in 1939 alongside Bill Nighy (Love Actually). Julie Christie (Away From Her), Eddie Redmayne (The Other Boleyn Girl), Juno Temple (Wild Child) and David Tennant also star.

1939 is set between present day London and the idyllic Norfolk countryside in the lead up to the Second World War. The story centres around the Keyes family, who are keen to uphold and preserve their very traditional, English way of life at a time of uncertainty and high tension.

During Poliakoff's absence from film he directed a number of BBC television dramas, most recently the BAFTA winning Capturing Mary, BAFTA nominated Joe's Palace, the EMMY award winning The Lost Prince and Gideon 's Daughter .

Poliakoff said 'I'm very excited to be making this film about a period that has always fascinated me, the extraordinary machinations that went on in British society on the eve of war. It is truly thrilling to be making it with such a tremendous cast which combines some of the most exciting young talent in the country.'