Jack O’Connell has been cast as Alexander McQueen in Pathé’s untitled project about the legendary fashion designer, directed by Andrew Haigh.

This will be a major vehicle for O’Connell, one of the UK’s hottest young actors at the moment. Haigh, who directed 45 Years, will direct from a script written by playwright Chris Urch, whose latest play The Rolling Stone played to critical acclaim when it debuted in London earlier this year. Urch’s script is based on the biography Blood Beneath the Skin, by Andrew Wilson.

Producer Damian Jones, who’s on a UK box-office winning streak with recent films such as Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and The Lady in the Van, will produce via his DJ Films banner.

Pathé has set a Spring 2017 shoot and will distribute the film in the UK, France and Switzerland as well as handling sales throughout the rest of the world.

“In 2009, Alexander McQueen put on one of his greatest shows – a stunningly beautifully re-working of his greatest designs from the past 15 years,” said Pathé in a statement. “It was a show that he dedicated to his mother and one in which he tried to make sense of his life and art. The film explores McQueen’s creative process in the months leading up to the show providing an intimate portrait of the man behind the global brand – a moving celebration of a visionary genius whose designs transcended fashion to become art.”

O’Connell first broke out on the scene with his performance in coming-of-age drama This Is England, directed by Shane Meadows. After roles in television on shows such as Skins and Dives, he gave critically acclaimed performances in films such as Starred Up, directed by David Mackenzie and ’71, directed by Yann Demange. He won BAFTA’s Rising Star Award in 2015.

Fashion designer McQueen’s life saw a spectacular rise and fall. Born a working class son of a Scottish taxi driver in Lewisham, London, he went on to rise rapidly from an apprentice on London’s famous Savile Row. He is known for having worked as chief designer at fashion house Givenchy and for founding his own Alexander McQueen label. He won four British Designer of the Year awards and his famous clients ranged from Prince Charles to Mikhael Gorbachev to David Bowie. Openly gay, his growing fortune and fame led to an increase in drug dependence. He committed suicide in 2010, nine days after his mother died of cancer.

O’Connell is repped by CAA and Conway van Gelder Grant.

Urch is repped by UTA, Grandview and United.