The Beast Must Die, one of the scripted, original dramas announced by BritBox UK last month, begins production in and around the Isle of Wight on Monday for a duration of eleven weeks. It is the first drama to shoot for BritBox UK.

The original British five-part revenge thriller is being produced by New Regency Television International and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free. New Regency is also the international distributor on the production.

Director Dome Karukoski (Tolkien, Tom of Finland), Screenwriter Gaby Chiappe (Their Finest, Shetland, Vera) and the production team used the national lockdown to refine the scripts and narrative, and the start of production now signals a new way of working for the team.

The production has comprehensive Covid-19 protocols in place and is following strict social distancing guidelines, with all cast and crew required to wear masks at all times (except when cast are filming a scene). The cast and crew are also being tested routinely and will undergo daily temperature checks and health screenings, while on and off set ‘pods’ are being established to ensure safe interaction on the production.

Geraldine James (Back to Life, Anne with an E, Utopia), Maeve Dermody (Carnival Row, Marcella, The Frankenstein Chronicles) and newcomers Mia Tomlinson and Barney Sayburn are now joining recent BAFTA winner and Golden Globe & Emmy nominated Jared Harris (Chernobyl, The Crown, Mad Men), Cush Jumbo OBE (The Good Wife, Deadwater Fell), Billy Howle (MotherFatherSon, Witness For The Prosecution, On Chesil Beach) and Nathaniel Parker (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Vanity Fair) to start filming.

In addition to Producer Sarada McDermott (Bridgerton, Hope Gap, Official Secrets), Heads of Department have been confirmed as Casting Director Kate Rhodes James (Line of Duty, Sherlock, The Terror, The Missing), Director of Photography Joel Devlin (The Trial of Christine Keeler, His Dark Materials, The ABC Murders, Doctor Foster), Production Designers Beck Rainford (The Third Day, Dark Money, Pure, National Treasure) and Linda Wilson (Belgravia, Killing Eve, I,Daniel Blake), Costume Designer Colleen Kelsall (Tolkien, The Watch, Doctor Thorne), Make Up & Hair Designer Jill Sweeney (The Pale Horse, White House Farm, Three Girls), Editors Mike Jones (End of the F***ing World, Liar, Pure, The Level) and Dan Roberts (Patrick Melrose, Trigonometry, His Dark Materials, Peaky Blinders) and First Assistant Director Tom Bassett (Bridgerton, Tolkien, Deep Water).

Dome Karukoski commented: “Gaby tricked me. I never anticipated to get so engaged with this evocative vendetta from a grieving mother, but that happened – and suddenly The Beast Must Die became an obsession for me. Pain and loss cause anger and the need to find revenge; to find a target. I find the story intriguing as to whether the beast is the person we want to take revenge upon or if the beast is within us – one who wants to replace grief with hate”. He added: “The production has given us the tools to portray this story safely and with great respect during these troubling times. I can’t wait to be back at work and do what directors love the most. Seeing actors like Cush, Jared, Billy and the iconic Geraldine James bring their heart and soul into these characters.”

Gaby Chiappe added: “What captured me when I read the novel was the combination of a thriller pulse and complex, nuanced characters; heightened action driven by truthful emotion. It’s what I hope I have managed to capture and translate to the screen more than eighty years after the book was first published. After so long spent in the company of the characters they are very real to me so it’s been hugely exciting to work with Dome and the production team and more recently with some of the actors to try and dig even deeper. I think the passion that has gone into developing this project through very difficult times, and the passion that is now going into shooting it in such challenging conditions, will make it something very special indeed.”

Jon Creamer

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