Lionsgate picked up the worldwide rights to the project, which started filming last week at Pinewood Studios on two stages, including the studio’s underwater stage. Elba will helm Above the Below with Martin Owen (The Loneliest Boy in The World), and will star alongside actress and filmmaker Caitlin FitzGerald and Hero Fiennes Tiffin, who earlier worked with Owen on The Loneliest Boy in the World.
Above the Below sees a tight-knit trio of astronauts survive a chaotic and destructive re-entry to Earth, only to find themselves off course and completely cut off from the world. As their capsule begins to sink into the unknown depths of the ocean, their battle for survival kicks off.
Elba plays Jackson, the mission commander leading the team. FitzGerald is Brooks, the mission’s strong willed and determined co-pilot, while Fiennes Tiffin plays Rhodes, an idealistic astronaut on his first mission.
The script was developed by Future Artists Entertainment, from an original idea by Martin Owen, and was written by screenwriters Elizabeth Morris, Matt Mitchell and Vicki Sargent.
Elba, whose debut directorial feature was Yardie, earlier starred in Hijack, Beast, the Thor franchise, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Luther, The Harder They Fall and The Suicide Squad. FitzGerald has starred in Masters of Sex, Succession and Trial of the Chicago 7.
Fiennes Tiffin is set to appear opposite Henry Cavill in Guy Ritchie’s The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, which will be released by Lionsgate in 2024. He broke out as an 11-year-old in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and most recently starred in Sony’s The Woman King, opposite Viola Davis and John Boyega.
“Working with the UK’s best and brightest in the industry on this complex and thrilling shoot, we are creating a thrill-ride movie that takes us from the Earth’s outer atmosphere to the very depths of the ocean. This is filmmaking at its most challenging and most exciting. With Idris and Martin at the helm, Above the Below is shaping up to be an unforgettable movie experience about the extremes of survival, against all odds!” Matt Williams, CEO of Future Artists Entertainment said in a statement.
Williams and Gina Carter will produce the film, while former Managing Director of Goldcrest Films Pascal Degove will executive produce.
Helen Lee Kim, president, global sales at Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, added in her own statement: “Partnering with Idris, Martin and their superstar filmmaking team is a spectacular opportunity to deliver a non-stop roller coaster ride of a movie for our 2024 slate. Idris, Hero and Caitlin are three magnetic actors who bring incredible depth to their roles and will undoubtably have us rooting for their survival from beginning to end.”
Elba is represented by The Artists Partnership and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole. FitzGerald is represented by Gersh, the Curtis Brown Group, Anonymous Content, and Peikoff Mahan. Fiennes Tiffin is represented by CAA, The Artists Partnership, Vybe Trybe, and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.