EXCLUSIVE: Tom Riley and Joanne Froggatt have boarded British indie feature Starfish, which has now started principal photography. Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons) and Froggatt (Downton Abbey) star in the true life story of Tom and Nicola Ray, whose lives changed overnight when Tom contracted a rare and life-threatening illness. Tom survives, but at a price, with all four limbs amputated, parts of his face removed, and his life turned upside down.

Starfish is a testament to the incredible things people are capable of when confronted with the unimaginable. It is a story of survival against the odds, not only for Tom but for their proud family unit. Tom and Nic show us, above all, what can be overcome when love is unconditional.

The film will be Froggatt’s first producer credit and her first feature lead since winning a Golden Globe as Anna in Downton Abbey. Froggatt previously won a BIFA for most promising newcomer for her performance in Brian Welsh’s In Our Name.

Starfish is written and directed by Bill Clark (Christmas Miracle Of Jonathan Toomey), who has based the screenplay on interviews with Tom and Nicola Ray and on Tom’s extraordinary diaries. Bill has worked closely with Tom and Nic Ray throughout the process, and they will continue to consult during production.

Filming is taking place on location in the Rays’ home county of Rutland. The film is a Genesius Pictures presentation in association with Unlimited Pictures of a Starfish Pictures Limited production with Origami Films Ltd, CrossDay and What’s the Story. Producers are Pippa Cross (Chalet Girl, Bloody Sunday), Mel Paton and Ros Hubbard (A Hundred Streets). Exec producers are Debbie Gray (Northern Soul), Robbie Little and Julian Gleek for Genesius Pictures, Diana Phillips (Alfie, Bad Lieutenant), Claire Best and Peter Lang for Unlimited Pictures, Joanne Froggatt, Graeme Ough, Janette Day and Paul Fullagar.

Starfish will be distributed by Genesius Pictures though its sales and distribution company. Riley is repped by Conway Van Gelder Grant, ICM and Principal Entertainment. Froggatt is repped by Conway Van Gelder Grant, UTA and Principal Entertainment.