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‘Penny Dreadful’ Actress Billie Piper Joins London-set Thriller ‘City of Tiny Lights’

LONDON — “Penny Dreadful” actress Billie Piper has joined the cast of London-set film noir “City of Tiny Lights,” which starts principal photography on Monday.

Pete Travis, whose credits include “Vantage Point,” “Endgame” and “Dredd,” directs the pic, which Protagonist Pictures will be selling at Cannes. Icon Film Distribution will be releasing the film, which will shoot for six weeks in London, in the U.K. and Ireland next year.

The cast is led by Riz Ahmed (“Nightcrawler,” “Shifty,” “Four Lions”) who plays down-at-heel gumshoe Tommy Akhtar. Piper, who plays Brona Croft in “Penny Dreadful,” and whose credits include “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” and “Doctor Who,” plays Shelley, Akhtar’s long-lost love. The ensemble includes Cush Jumbo (“Josephine and I,” “The Inbetweeners”), James Floyd (“My Brother the Devil,” “Everywhere and Nowhere”) and Roshan Seth (“Indian Summers,” “Gandhi,” “My Beautiful Laundrette”).

The screenplay is written by author Patrick Neate, based on his novel of the same name. Ado Yoshizaki-Cassuto and Rebecca O’Brien are producing for NDF International and Sixteen Films, with support from the BFI and BBC Films, in association with Lip Sync Productions, Fel UK and Ingenious Media. BBC Films and BFI developed the script.

Popular on Variety

Pic is a portrait of contemporary London as a teeming multicultural metropolis where nothing is as it seems. Tommy Akhtar is a cricket fan, devoted son and deadbeat private eye. He has an office above a suburban cab firm, a taste for cigarettes and booze, and a finely tuned moral compass well hidden behind a sharp line in cynicism.

Tommy walks in one morning to find high-class prostitute Melody (Jumbo) seeking his help. She wants him to find her friend Natasha, last seen meeting a new client at a swanky Mayfair bar. He has little luck tracking down Natasha, but instead finds the dead body of Pakistani businessman Usman Rana, and, before he knows it, he’s drawn into a sinister, dangerous world of religious fanaticism and political intrigue.

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