LONDON — Steve Coogan, whose credits include Showtime’s “Happyish” and Oscar-nominated film “Philomena,” is to star in Distant Horizon’s “Shepherds and Butchers.” WestEnd Films will sell the pic at Cannes.

The film, which is directed by Oliver Schmitz (“Life, Above All”), follows jaded lawyer Johan Webber (Coogan), who takes on a seemingly hopeless multiple murder case, and uncovers scandalous shortcomings in South Africa’s capital punishment system, as he mounts a defense for a prison guard traumatized by the executions he took part in.

Distant Horizon’s Anant Singh (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”) and Brian Cox (“Kite”) are producing for Distant Horizon and Videovision Entertainment, with Sudhir Pragjee, Sanjeev Singh and Basil Ford as executive producers.

Principal photography begins June 15 in South Africa.