Calendar Girls producer Nick Barton is gearing up for a summer shoot on family film Swallows And Amazons. Downton Abbey alum Dan Stevens is in talks for the key role of James Turner, aka Captain Flint. Swallows And Amazons is the first book in the children’s series by Arthur Ransome. Set in England’s Lake District in the summer of 1929, the books center on the Walker kids and the Blackett kids whose respective sailboats are dubbed Swallow and Amazon. When the adventurous and imaginative children meet, they join forces against their common enemy – the Blacketts’ uncle James whom they call Captain Flint.

Casting is underway for the children who are aged from six to 13. The Guard brothers Charles and Thomas, who directed the DreamWorks/Paramount suspense pic The Uninvited in 2009, are helming. Andrea Gibb is scripting the co-production from Barton’s Harbour Pictures and BBC Films. The books were previously adapted for the screen in 1974.

Stevens has kept his dance card full since leaving Downton at the end of Season 3. After a run in the Broadway revival of The Heiress opposite Jessica Chastain, he segued to Bill Condon’s Wikileaks movie The Fifth Estate and is currently shooting Cross Creek and Exclusive Media’s A Walk Among The Tombstones with Liam Neeson. He’s repped by Julian Belfrage Associates in the UK and by WME.