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Tim Roth joins John Maclean’s ‘Tornado’ as Lionsgate swoops on UK-Ireland rights (exclusive)

Source: HanWay Films

Tim Roth

UK actor Tim Roth has joined John Maclean’s survival thriller Tornado as principal photography gets underway in Scotland, with HanWay Films on board for sales. 

Roth, whose credits include Pulp Fiction and TV series Tin Star, joins the previously announced cast of Slow Horses’ Jack Lowden, Giri/Haji’s Takehiro Hira and Koki, who will also appear in Baltasar Kormakur’s upcoming feature Touch.

Tornado has pre-sold in a raft of territories, including Lionsgate UK which has picked up UK and Ireland rights, The Jokers in France, ZDF in Germany and Austria, September Films in Benelux, M2 in Central Europe, MCF in former Yugoslavia, NOS Audiovisuals in Portugal, The Film Group in Greece, Front Row in the Middle East, Shaw in Singapore and Cinesky for ships and airlines.

Sales will continue at the upcoming European Film Market (EFM).

The film is the second from Scotland-based Maclean following the Sundance grand jury prize-winning Slow West in 2015. Maclean, a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2011, has also directed music videos and was a member of The Beta Band. 

The thriller is set in the rugged landscape of 1790s Britain. Koki plays a young and determined Japanese woman, Tornado, who finds herself caught in a perilous situation when she and her father’s travelling puppet Samurai show crosses paths with a gang of ruthless criminals. The gang is led by Sugarman – played by Roth – and his ambitious son, Little Sugar (Lowden). When Tornado’s father is murdered by the gang, she endeavours to fight for her own survival and avenge her father death.

It is financed by Ashland Hill Media Finance. Producers are Leonora Darby, James Harris and Mark Lane from leading UK genre outfit Tea Shop Productions. Maclean also writes, based on a story by Maclean and Kate Leys. Robbie Ryan, who has been nominated for a Bafta for cinematography for his work on Poor Things, is the director of photography.

Executive producers include Ashland Hill’s Joe Simpson, Simon Williams, Andy Wang and Matthew Chausse.

The film was developed with the support of the BFI, and received production funding from Screen Scotland, both awarding National Lottery funding.

“It is exciting to start the year with a film going into production in the UK,” said Gabrielle Stewart, CEO of HanWay Films. “Tornado is a unique, kinetic and adrenaline-fuelled story and we couldn’t be happier to be partnering with our friends at Lionsgate on the UK.”

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