Doctor Who alum Matt Smith and Saint Maud star Morfydd Clark are set to appear as lead roles in the newest supernatural horror Starve Acre. From BAFTA-nominated Apostasy writer and director Daniel Kokotajlo, Starve Acre will base its story around Andrew Michael Hurley’s novel of the same name.
Starve Acre revolves around Richard and Juliette Willoughby, whose son Ewan dies suddenly at the age of five and Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place. Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.
Smith and Clark will portray Richard and Juliette Willoughby, a disconnected couple whose grief and worry drives them towards different coping mechanisms; Richard delves into folklore and makes a shocking discovery and Juliette seeks help from the local community.
In 2019, Morfydd Clark appeared in the films Crawl (2019), The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019), and Eternal Beauty (2019). Her breakthrough role was Maud in Saint Maud (2019). Meanwhile, Smith’s first television role came in 2006 as Jim Taylor in the BBC adaptations of Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, while in film, he starred in Womb (2010) and portrayed the physical embodiment of Skynet in Terminator Genisys (2015).
According to Variety, “Starve Acre is currently in pre-production. It will start shooting later this spring in the U.K. with sales commencing at EFM. Following a successful collaboration with Kokotajlo on Apostasy, the writer-director’s feature debut, Cornerstone will again handle worldwide sales.”
Tessa Ross (12 Years a Slave), Juliette Howell (Brexit: The Uncivil War) and Emmy Duffy (Rocks) produce the House Productions film. The trio of producers spoke with Variety regarding Daniel Kokotajlo’s expertise.
“Daniel is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today and we’re thrilled to be bringing his adaptation of Andrew Michael Hurley’s extraordinary novel to the screen,” said Ross. “Starve Acre is already a genre-defining modern classic – Daniel’s singular vision and this exceptional cast bring great depth and strength to this evocative story.”
“Cornerstone’s Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder commented: “Daniel’s haunting cinematic vision for Starve Acre is breathtaking and we’re excited to be able to continue our collaboration with him.”
In these early stages of development, an official release date is unknown, but Starve Acre can expect to start filming in Spring 2022.