EXCLUSIVE: Steve Coogan (Philomena) will star in Oliver Schmitz’s Shepherds And Butchers. The film is set in South Africa and follows a jaded lawyer, Johan Webber (Coogan), who takes on a seemingly hopeless multiple murder case and uncovers scandalous shortcomings in South Africa’s capital punishment system as he mounts a defense for a prison guard traumatized by the executions he took part in.

Principal photography begins June 15th in South Africa.  Schmitz previously directed South African drama Life, Above All. Coogan has Showtime series Happyish, about a 44-year-old father re-evaluating his job and life after the arrival of a new boss, debuting this Sunday, as well as voice duties in Illumination Entertainment’s Minions. Coogan is repped by Independent Talent Group and CAA.

Brian Cox wrote the script. WestEnd Films is handling sales on the project at Cannes.  Anant Singh (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom) and Brian Cox (Kite) are producing for South Africa-based Distant Horizon and Videovision Entertainment, with Sudhir Pragjee, Sanjeev Singh and Basil Ford as executive producers.