Damian Lewis and Toni Collette are set to star in upcoming racing film Dream Horse.
The movie, directed by Euros Lyn, tells the true story of a woman’s dream to breed and raise a champion racehorse on the allotment of her forgotten Welsh village – and of how she takes her entire community with her.
Collette will play Jan Vokes, a barmaid who recruits her initially reluctant husband and a local accountant to help her bring together a syndicate of local people to breed a foal – which they name Dream Alliance.
Homeland star Lewis will play the accountant, Howard Davies.
The film was penned by Bafta-winning writer Neil McKay and was developed with Film4.
Film4, Ingenious Media and Ffilm Cymru Wales are funding the film, which is also being supported by the Welsh Government.
Bafta-winner Lyn, whose directorial credits include Happy Valley, Kiri, Damilola Our Loved Boy, Sherlock and Black Mirror, said: “I grew up in the Welsh valleys where everyone knows this story – it’s a local legend.
“The moment I read Neil’s brilliant script I knew I had to direct this funny and moving film.
“Casting Toni Collette as Jan Vokes, our extraordinary heroine, and Damian Lewis as Howard Davies, her intriguingly conflicted accomplice, is my own dream come true.
“They’re the perfect actors to tell this true story of how against all the odds, an ordinary woman inspires her community to go on the ride of a lifetime and rediscover a sense of hope.”
The true story behind the film was previously told in director Louise Osmond’s documentary Dark Horse, which won the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance.
Katherine Butler, from production company Raw, said: “I fell in love with this story when I first heard about Louise Osmond’s documentary – and when I met the real people involved, I was hugely inspired by both their steely determination and their joyous outlook on life.
“Our brilliant writer Neil McKay spent hours with many of the people whose story this is to craft an exciting, moving and often hilarious script.
“And Euros Lyn’s immediate and passionate response to the script completely convinced us that he was born to direct this film.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with our dream casting of Toni Collette and Damian Lewis, and together with the support of all our financiers, the local Welsh cast and crew and the horse racing community, we are off to the races.”