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Stormbreaker Cast Announced 29 June 2005

So, finally, Alex will be Alex. After an intense and wide-ranging casting search, teenager Alex Pettyfer (who starred as Tom Brown in the recent Isle of Man Film funded TV hit "Tom Brown's Schooldays") makes his big-screen debut as the reluctant schoolboy special agent Alex Rider in Stormbreaker, the film of Anthony Horowitz's best-selling novel, which is scheduled to start shooting on the Isle of Man from July 3rd 2005.

Developed over the past three years by Isle of Man Film, Stormbreaker represents the largest scale production ever undertaken on the Island and marks what is hoped will be the start of an on-going franchise centred on the Alex Rider character. Isle of Man Film Limited acquired the film rights for the series along with production partners Samuelson Productions Limited in 2002. Isle of Man Film's Steve Christian who is producing the film alongside Marc and Peter Samuelson said:

"The significance of Stormbreaker for the Island's industry cannot be over-stated. To be working alongside the likes of Harvey Weinstein at this level validates the potential that we have always believed in. Once again we are seeing the Isle of Man stepping up to the mark at the very highest level. Economically, we have achieved our goal in selling our North American rights before production commences. This is due in no small part to the fact that we came into Stormbreaker on day one and have been able to influence the direction of the project."

An exciting international cast has been assembled for the big-budget production. Mickey Rourke ("Domino", "Sin City"), will star as Alex's nemesis, megalomaniac businessman Darrius Sayle, with BAFTA-winner Bill Nighy ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", "Love Actually") as Alex's spymaster at MI6, Mr Blunt, and with Oscar-nominee Sophie Okonedo ("Hotel Rwanda", "Dirty Pretty Things") as his colleague Mrs Jones.

Sayle's monstrous PR assistant Nadia Vole will be played by Missi Pyle ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story"), while Alicia Silverstone ("Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed", "Clueless") will star as Alex Rider's friend and housekeeper Jack Starbright. Alex's fellow student and potential girlfriend Sabina Pleasure will be played by Sarah Bolger ("Tara Road", "In America"). Ashley Walters ("Goal!", "Bullet Boy") stars as SAS soldier Wolf and Damian Lewis ("Chromophobia", "Band of Brothers") is the ubiquitous Russian assassin Yassen Gregorovich.

Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor ("The Island", "Star Wars: Episodes II and III") will make a special starring appearance as Alex's superspy uncle and guardian Ian Rider and the legendary master Donnie Yen ("Shanghai Knights", "Hero", "Iron Monkey", "Once Upon a Time in China 2") will be responsible for martial arts sequences in the film.

Geoffrey Sax will direct Stormbreaker from a screenplay by Anthony Horowitz, based on his own novel. Sax, whose feature, "White Noise", was an instant success on both sides of the Atlantic this year, has had a long and varied career, directing award-winning subjects ranging from "Tipping The Velvet", "Othello" and "Clocking Off" to "Rowan Atkinson Presents...".

Anthony Horowitz, the prolific and successful novelist and screenwriter with credits including the TV series "Poirot", "Midsomer Murders" and "Foyle's War", is one of the very few children's book authors who is a household name. He has written six Alex Rider adventures, which have sold 8 million copies and been translated into 28 languages. Stormbreaker, the first in the best-selling series, was named in a nationwide poll of children as the book they most wanted to see turned into a movie.

The Weinstein Company, the interim name of Bob and Harvey Weinstein's new company, has acquired the North American rights to Stormbreaker and Entertainment Film Distributors have pre-bought the UK rights to the $40m-plus production. Capitol Films are selling international rights.

DTI Minister Alex Downie commented:

"We are delighted to see Stormbreaker finally go into production with such a top level cast and such a positive profile in the global industry. As a project that Isle of Man Government co-owns the rights to, Stormbreaker is very special and I know the Isle of Man, as a location, will do it justice. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Steve Christian and the small band of staff in the Film Office, as well as offering my thanks and appreciation to Marc and Peter Samuelson, for all the hard work that has so far gone into getting STORMBREAKER off on the road to the success it deserves."

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