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Billy Howle joins Saoirse Ronan in On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle cast in On Chesil Beach

The 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan’s Atonement starred relative unknowns like Saoirse Ronan and Benedict Cumberbatch. Now another McEwan adaptation, novella On Chesil Beach, will hope to offer a similar breakout opportunity to another young actor. Billy Howle has been cast to star as co-lead opposite Ronan in the film.

A story of sexual repression and '60s social mores, On Chesil Beach will see its director, Dominic Cooke (The Hollow Crown), overseeing a tale of two young lovers, Florence Ponting (Ronan) and Edward Mayhew (Howle), trying to overcome a particularly ferocious case of the awkwards as they begin their lives together.

“I’m very excited about working with Billy on this brilliantly written role,” says Cooke of his new male lead in a statement. "He has the perfect mix of charisma, intelligence and vulnerability for Edward and is a subtle and intelligent actor. The chemistry between him and Saoirse is electric and I can’t wait to start working with them both.”

Howle will be appearing on movie screens soon in two other literary adaptations, Julian Barnes’ The Sense Of An Ending and Chekov’s The Seagull. The latter also stars Saoirse Ronan, so they should be both firm friends and good with seagulls by the time they head to the seaside for this one.

Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen ‘Woolley on the Web’ Woolley are producing On Chesil Beach for Number 9 Films.

Photographer: Nick Haddow

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