SPY thriller Damascus Cover starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers beings filming in Morocco this week.
The Hollywood star, who picked up an Irish Post Legend Award last October, takes the lead role in the action-packed film, which is set in the Syrian capital in 1989 just as the Berlin Wall falls in Europe.
Filming starts on Thursday and runs until March 23 in Casablanca.
“I’m enormously excited about this role,” said the Dracula star, who is fresh from filming Oscar contender Stonewall. “This was a hugely significant time in the conflict in the Middle East, post-cold war and with the collapse of the Berlin Wall when an amount of spies were redeployed to the Middle East, where the theatre of covert operations would now take precedence.”
Based on real life events, also captured in the best-selling 1977 novel by Howard Kaplan, Damascus Cover focuses on a veteran spy sent undercover in Syria to smuggle a chemical weapons scientist and his family out of Damascus.
But within days of his arrival and as his mission unravels, he realises a group of men are trying to kill him. Marked for death and caught in a maddening puzzle, he must race for survival.
Starring alongside Rhys Meyers is the recently knighted Sir John Hurt, who’s no stranger to the espionage movie genre having starred in 2011’s Tinker Tailor Solider Spy.
Juno actress Olivia Thirlby also stars. She said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of Damascus Cover. It’s an honour to collaborate with and work alongside such a diverse and talented group of individuals on a project that looks closely at a fascinating time in history.”
The Daniel Berk-directed film will be launched at this month’s Berlin film Festival, where London-based Carnaby International will begin pre-sales negotiations.
The movie, written by Samantha Newton and Daniel Berk, is being produced by British-based company Big Book Media.
Producer Hannah Leader said: “Damascus Cover is a great script – believable and brilliant. The characters and situations are vividly drawn and the Middle East setting really brings to life this spell-binding moment in history, which is both topical and timely. With Daniel at the helm, it’s going to be a beautiful picture.”