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‘Peaky Blinders’ Star Joe Cole Boards Thai Kick-Boxing Thriller ‘Prayer Before Dawn’

HanWay Films to sell thai kick-boxing project at AFM

'Peaky Blinders' Star Joe Cole Boards
Courtesy of Jonathan Hordle/REX Shutterstock

LONDON – “Peaky Blinders” star Joe Cole (“The Secret in Their Eyes,” “Green Room”) is attached to star in true-life Thai kick-boxing prison thriller “A Prayer Before Dawn” with Jean-Stephane Sauvaire (”Johnny Mad Dog”) on board to direct.

HanWay Films will sell international rights at the American Film Market, where the company expects it to “resonate with buyer’s appetite for commercial crossover genre fare in the vein of ‘Drive’ and ‘The Raid.’” Creative Artists Agency will co-represent the film’s U.S. distribution rights with HanWay.

Sauvaire has found an abandoned prison in Thailand where shooting will commence on April 4, 2016, with Cole already in training for the Muay Thai sequences with Billy Moore, the author of the book, whose experiences in Thailand the film is based on. Producers are Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter of Hurricane Films, who previously optioned the material. The screenplay is by Johnny Hirschbein and Nick Saltrese, based on the book by Billy Moore. Executive producer is Rita Dagher.

The movie tells the true-life story of Billy Moore’s incarceration in one of Thailand’s most barbaric prisons – Klong Prem, the notorious Bangkok Hilton. In a system where life has no value, Moore discovers the redemptive power of the martial art of Muay Thai, and begins fighting for his freedom in the ring. “A Prayer Before Dawn” is “the story of a man’s descent into hell and his incredible journey back to redemption,” said HanWay.

Cole has recently completed filming the independent feature “Woodshock,” alongside Kirsten Dunst, and is currently filming season three of “Peaky Blinders.” He will next be seen in “Green Room” and Billy Ray’s “Secret in Their Eyes” with Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Cole is represented by CAA and Troika.

Sauvaire said: “Joe Cole is just the kind of committed young actor this project has been looking for – he will totally inhabit this exciting and demanding role, which combines a survival story with the thrill of Thai boxing.”

“A Prayer Before Dawn” is produced by Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter, of Hurricane Films, which recently completed shooting on their Terence Davies directed biopic of Emily Dickinson, “A Quiet Passion,” starring Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle and Keith Carradine. Hurricane’s previous production, “Sunset Song,” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, with U.S. rights going to Magnolia.