“Deep Fear,” the upcoming shark thriller starring “Gossip Girl’s” Ed Westwick and “House of Gucci’s” Madalina Ghenea, has gone into production in Malta.

The feature has also added Stany Coppet (“Vikings: Valhalla”) and Macarena Gomez (“Shrew’s Nest”), who will play drug traffickers Jose and Maria, as well as Ibrahima Gueye (“The Life Ahead”) who will play a boat hand called Barney.

“Deep Fear” sees Ghenea star as accomplished yachtswoman Naomi who embarks on a solo trip through the Caribbean to meet her boyfriend Jackson (played by Westwick) in Grenada.

When a storm forces Naomi of course, she encounters survivors of a shipwreck who, it soon transpires, are actually drug traffickers. They force Naomi to dive into the hull of their sunken ship to retrieve their shipment of cocaine, where she encounters a frenzy of vicious tiger sharks, whom she must outwit to survive.

The feature will shoot over the next six weeks at Malta Film Studios (MFS), which has both indoor and exterior tanks, as well as on location around the island and the Mediterranean Sea.

Underwater cinematographer Mark Silk (“James Bond: No Time To Die”) has boarded as DP. He will bring with him a team of professional divers and cameras.

LipSync Post will handle VFX and post-production, who will create the sharks.

Marcus Adams (“Long Time Dead”) directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with Robert Capelli Jr (“The Rules (for Men)”) and Sophia Eptamentis (“Invincible Summer”).

“My approach with ‘Deep Fear’ is to feature the shark very sparingly,” says Adams. “The imagination always creates far greater fear than any visual. Combining LipSync’s masterful VFX with Mark Silk’s world-beating underwater cinematography and the breath-taking locations will ensure we create a fresh and exhilarating addition to the genre.”

Ed Westwick added: “A high stakes thriller set in paradise. What’s not to love? Very happy to be part of this team.”

Brilliant Pictures’ Sean O’Kelly (“Margin Call”) is producing alongside Marc Bikindou (“Black Dahlia”) and Halo Pictures’ Engelbert Grech (“The Raft”). Fred Films’ James Spring (“Come Away”) is executive producing.

“Having looked at many locations around the world, we felt that Malta, with its state-of-the-art facilities, talented and experienced crew and breath-taking locations – was the perfect fit for ‘Deep Fear,’ O’Kelly said. “This is a highly technical and complex shoot and I know, with Engelbert and his team, we’re in the very best of hands.”

London and Rome based Brilliant Pictures will handle worldwide sales rights.