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LONDON — The first film from Pathe Pictures, one of the U.K.’s three lottery franchises, likely will be “The Darkest Light,” written and co-directed by “The Full Monty” scripter Simon Beaufoy.

Pathe is understood to have submitted the project for approval to the Arts Council of England, which oversees all investment of lottery coin in film production.

Although similarly located in Beaufoy’s native Yorkshire, “The Darkest Light” is a sober contrast to the bittersweet comedy of “The Full Monty.”

It’s the story of two young girls from a farming community, one Catholic and the other Hindu, who think they see a vision. Each interprets the vision differently, according to her beliefs. That the Catholic girl’s brother is dying of leukemia and the farms are suffering an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease only complicates matters.

Footprint production

Beaufoy, who penned the original screenplay, will co-direct with Billie Eltrincham, with whom he has helmed a number of shorts. The pic will be produced by Bournemouth-based Footprint Films, in which Beaufoy and Eltrincham are partnered with producer Mark Blaney.

The pic was in development with Andrea Calderwood when she was at BBC Scotland, and she has taken it with her to her new post as head of production for Pathe Pictures.

Pathe was awarded one of ACE’s three lottery film production franchises a year ago, but has yet to announce its first slate. The six-year franchise gives Pathe around $55 million in lottery coin to co-finance 35 British films.

Alongside “The Darkest Light,” Beaufoy is scripting “Blow Dry” for West Eleven Films/Intermedia and “The Waterhorse” for HAL Films. He is also in talks with Fox Searchlight about a sequel to “The Full Monty,” which he may direct.