×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Sherlock’s’ Moriarty, Andrew Scott, Joins Cast of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ (EXCLUSIVE)

LONDON — Andrew Scott, who is Jim Moriarty in “Sherlock” and is soon to be seen as Denbigh in James Bond movie “Spectre,” has joined the cast of Philippa Lowthorpe’s feature film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s adventure story “Swallows and Amazons.” Scott, whose other movie credits include “Pride,” will play a secret agent — by the name of Lazlow — in pursuit of the reclusive and enigmatic Jim Turner (Rafe Spall), inspired by Ransome’s own life as a spy.

In the novel “Swallows and Amazons,” Ransome based the character of Turner on himself as a novelist. The filmmakers behind this new adaptation have been inspired by Ransome’s secret life as an agent for the British intelligence service MI6, and based Turner on Ransome the spy. The truth about Ransome’s role as a secret agent, whose code name was S.76, was revealed 10 years ago when the British government released its files on Ransome’s activities in Russia between 1914 and 1937.

The story follows four children dreaming of an escape from the tedium of a summer holiday with their mother. When finally given permission to camp on their own on a remote island in the middle of a vast lake, they are overjoyed. But when they get there they discover they may not be alone… As they battle for ownership of the island, they learn the skills of survival and the value of friendship, which helps prepare them for the real danger they must face from the adult world.

One of the attractions of Scott’s depiction of Moriarty in “Sherlock” was a genuine sense of menace and threat, but the character he plays in “Swallows and Amazons” will be very different, he told Variety on Monday. “It’s a very different kettle of fish altogether. He’s a very charismatic character, and there is humor and warmth in the character,” he said. “It’s a great part; it’s very witty. It’s a very attractive character to play, so I’m delighted to be on board.”

But what drew him to the project most was the story. “The chief reason I’m on board is because I love the storyline. That’s the thing that attracts me to any project — a great script and a really good story,” he said.

One theme of the story is about how appearances can be deceptive. “It’s about how adults can appear a certain way, but appearances, the way people behave, and what we’ve been told about people are not necessarily true, and children have to learn that for themselves,” he said.

Actors, like spies, need to pretend to be something they are not and say things they don’t believe, but Scott does not think he would make a good spy in real life, even though he plays one in the film. “There are certain similarities between acting and being a spy,” he said. “But I think there’s a great myth because actually most actors are terrible, terrible liars. What with doing Bond for the past six months and being in that world, I’ve come to realize it’s a very different world, contrary to what people might think.”

It’s the first time he’s appeared in a movie made for children. “I’m delighted that this is a film that my godchildren can come and watch, because some of the stuff I’ve done before has been a bit adult themed,” he said.

“I don’t think films made for children need be any less accomplished than those made for adults: just look at ‘Paddington’ last year, which is such a beautiful film. Standards have to be very high because children have very good instincts for what is believable and relevant,” he said.

Scott likes to take on a variety of projects, and intends to juggle stage work, TV and movies, as he’s done so far. “I love to do as many different things as possible,” he said. “I’ll keep it the way I’ve been doing it so far. That’s my idea of success as an actor. I’m very lucky to traverse the three things, and even do a bit of radio, and as many things as possible, because that’s the fun of it. It’s a bit of a juggle this year, but it’s really exciting,” he said.

Scott joins the cast alongside Spall (“BFG,” “I Give It a Year”) as Turner (aka Captain Flint), Kelly Macdonald (“No Country for Old Men,” “Boardwalk Empire”) as Mrs. Walker, Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones”) as Mrs. Blackett, Jessica Hynes (“Up the Women,” “Shaun of the Dead”) as Mrs. Jackson, and Harry Enfield (TV series “Bad Education,” “Kevin and Perry Go Large”) as Mr. Jackson.

The Walker and Blackett children from the Ransome story will be played by young breakthrough stars, including Dane Hughes as John Walker, Orla Hill as Susan Walker, Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen as Tatty Walker, Bobby McCulloch as Roger Walker, and Seren Hawkes and Hannah Jayne Thorp as Nancy and Peggy Blackett.

The film began principal photography in the Lake District, North-West England, on June 21, and will be shooting over the summer in the Lake District and Yorkshire.

The film marks the feature debut of Lowthorpe, whose TV credits include “Call the Midwife” and “Jamaica Inn.” The screenplay is by Andrea Gibb (“Dear Frankie”).

BBC Films and the BFI developed the project with Harbour Pictures Productions and are also supporting production. HanWay Films is handling worldwide sales. The film will be distributed in the U.K. by Studiocanal. It received finance from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund, The Electric Shadow Company and Maiden Investments.

Nick Barton of Harbour Pictures, Nick O’Hagan, and BBC Films’ Joe Oppenheimer are producers. Executive producers are Christine Langan of BBC Films, the BFI’s Natascha Wharton, Studiocanal’s Danny Perkins and Jenny Borgars, Screen Yorkshire’s Hugo Heppell, Alexa Seligman and John Jencks of Electric Shadow, Peter Watson of HanWay Films, Steve Milne and Ian Maiden.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Taika Waititi’s 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

    Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content