EXCLUSIVE: Highly rated director Michael Pearce is assembling a cast of up-and-coming talent for his feature directorial debut Beast. Johnny Flynn and Jessie Buckley are in advanced talks to star in the project. Beast is a love story trapped within a horror film; a dark fairytale about an emotionally isolated woman who comes under the spotlight of an island community when she falls in love with a man who is suspected of a series of brutal murders.

Agile Films and Stray Bear Films are co-producing, with Kristian Brodie, Lauren Dark and Ivana MacKinnon on-board as producers. The BFI and Film4 have developed and will finance.

Flynn previously starred opposite Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche in Clouds Of Sils Maria. He is also attached to play The Kinks co-founder Ray Davies in Julien Temple’s You Really Got Me. Buckley enjoyed a breakthrough performance as Marya Bolkonskaya in the epic BBC-TWC adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic War And Peace. She is also set to appear in the Tom Hardy event TV series Taboo.

Pearce was previously BAFTA nominated for his short Keeping Up With The Joneses. He is repped by Independent Talent Group.

Flynn is repped by United Agents, CAA and Management 360. Buckley is repped by United Agents.