EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a hot project headed to Cannes: James McAvoy is set to star in Escape, the Blacklist script written by Vanya Asher with The Girl With All The Gifts helmer Colm McCarthy set to direct. Phantom Four’s David S. Goyer and Kevin Turen are producing with McCarthy’s The Girl With All The Gifts producer Camille Gatin. Asher exec produces.

Stuart Ford’s IM Global is shopping the project to buyers on the Croisette next week. UTA Independent Film Group and WME Global are co-repping North American sales.

Escape was a spec written by first-time scribe Asher, based on his family’s experience in Sarajevo where they lived until the break-up of the country in 1992. It’s a harrowing and heart-breaking true story about a professor (McAvoy) who is caught in Sarajevo as the city is turned into an explosive battleground and who sacrifices his own safety to stay behind and continue teaching. But as the massacre escalates, his window of opportunity to join his family is quickly closing and he must fight his way out amidst the turmoil.

Escape is the incredibly moving true story of Vanya’s father and how heroic it can be for a civilian to escape from conflict for the sake of his family,” said McCarthy. “The themes are so powerfully universal – how humour can keep people sane through hardship, how a father’s promise to his son can be the strongest drive of all. I could not be more excited than to have James McAvoy join our team.”

McCarthy is on a roll as of recent: The director helmed Peaky Blinders, Sherlock and Doctor Who and his first feature The Girl With All the Gifts, starring Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton, opened last year to critical acclaim. His pilot Krypton was just picked up by SyFy.

McAvoy recently starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split which took $275M at the global box office.

The deal for Escape was negotiated by IM Global’s SVP Acquisitions and Co-Productions, John Zois, on behalf of IM Global.

Ascher is repped by WME, Grandview and Bloom Hergott. McCarthy is repped by UTA and Independent Talent Group in the UK. McAvoy is repped at UTA and United Agents in the UK.