Tom Felton Rings The Belle

With Sam Reid in new period romance

Tom Felton has signed up for Belle, Amma Asante's 18th century romance, offering Feltonians the chance to see their man in period garb in an Jane Austen-like romance.

Like The Girl With The Pearl Earring, the film is inspired by a painting. In this case, it's a 1779 portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha Raw), a mixed-raised girl who is brought up as an aristocrat in a censorious, disapproving country. Producer Damian Jones is promising "a powerful tale inspired by true historical events".

The film, which starts shooting on September 23, has also added two talented newcomers in Sam Reid and James Norton to its ranks. The pair will be popping up soon in The Railway Man and James Hunt biopic Rush respectively.

The central romance pairs Raw with Reid as Belle's lover John Davinier. No word yet on what Felton's role is, but we'd like to think it'll involve at least a little bit of magic.

Belle is notable, too, for being one of the early beneficiaries of the BFI's new funding apparatus, the replacement for the UK Film Council. The seven-week shoot is taking place at Pinewood, as well as locations in Oxford, London and the Isle of Man.