Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Romola Garai are teaming for gothic horror Virtue, heading to the European Film Market with HanWay Films.
The feature is set to be directed by Joanna Coates, who in 2014 won the Michael Powell award for best British feature at the Edinburgh Film Festival for her film Hide & Seek, and was written by Sam Hoare (Having You, The English Game series, A Gentleman in Moscow series).
Alex Cook is producing for 10 08 Films Ltd. and Coster-Waldau, Steve Bakken and Joe Derrick for Ill Kippers. Executive producers include HanWay Films, James Brown and Matthew James Wilkinson.
Set in England in 1350, Virtue sees Coster-Waldau play Sir Peter, a heroic knight, who after years abroad returns from war accompanied by his teenage son and companions at arms. They find a plague-ravaged homeland ruled by social unrest, superstition and fear. After controversially preventing a witch from burning, Sir Peter vows to rescue Fraya (Garai), the latest villager to vanish into a haunted forest that the locals are terrified by, eager to re-establish his name and authority in the eyes of his people.
On his quest, good intentions sour and havoc begins to reign … sinister forces surround the men as they find Fraya and her “possessed” daughter Ludella. But do these women actually want to be rescued? Sir Peter is forced to confront and even sacrifice his own humanity and family for the good of order, his people and the patriarchy.
“The Middle Ages and classic fairy tales present an elemental world that reinforces the patriarchal order with knights in shining armour saving damsels in distress,” said Gabrielle Stewart, CEO of HanWay Films. “Virtue takes you on a thrilling and scary ride, subverting this world and challenging the gender and power structures it protects.”