Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens is staying busy on the big screen now that his TV schedule is a little lighter than previously. He’s currently in talks to snatch the villain role in a new cinematic take on Swallows And Amazons.
Arthur Ransome’s 1930 tome will be familiar to anyone who studied it at school or sat through previous adaptations (particularly the 1974 film). Set in the summer of 1929, it finds the Walker children (John, Susan, Titty and Roger) staying at a farm in the Lake District, during the school holidays. They sail a borrowed dinghy named Swallow and meet the Blackett children (Nancy and Peggy), who sail a dinghy named Amazon. The Walkers camp on an island in the lake while the Blacketts live in their house nearby.
When the children meet, they agree to join forces against a common enemy: the Blacketts' uncle James Turner, whom they call "Captain Flint" after the character in Treasure Island. Turner (Stevens, if he takes the part), normally an ally of his nieces, has withdrawn from their company in order to write his memoirs, and has become decidedly unfriendly.
Charles and Thomas Guard, who last made horror pic The Uninvited, are directing from a script by Andrea Gibb. The producers are now looking to find young actors to play the kids, and shooting is likely to take place in the summer. Will it shoot in the UK? That’ll probably depend on whether summer actually decides to turn up. And will they change Titty's name to something less snigger-inducing? That remains to be seen.
Stevens has worked on WikiLeaks pic The Fifth Estate and is now shooting kidnap drama A Walk Among The Tombstones. He’s also attached to biopic Summer In February.