An actor who starred in the Harry Potter films has been chosen for a major role in a multi-million pound film exploring the lives of the Bronte sisters.
Matthew Lewis, who played the part of Neville Longbottom in the eight Harry Potter films, was selected for a new biopic called The Brontes. He will portray the sisters’ troubled brother, Branwell.
In October of last year, Yorkshire-based Clothworkers Films revealed an estimated budget of £10 million for the production about the famous literary siblings – Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
The company has said the film will be the world’s first English-language project of its kind. The two-hour feature is due to be released on April 21, 2016 – exactly 200 years since Charlotte Bronte was born.
Mr Lewis’s involvement was announced on Monday by the film’s director, David Anthony Thomas. Mr Thomas said: “I’m really excited to be working with Matthew Lewis on The Brontes film. Matthew will be playing the role of Branwell Bronte.
“Matthew has been my first choice to play Branwell since we first started working on the production, and I’m delighted he’s agreed to play the role.”
As well as his role in Harry Potter, Mr Lewis, who was born in Horsforth, is also known for playing the character Jamie Bradley in a five-part TV series called The Syndicate.
More recently he has been part of the cast of Bluestone 42, a comedy drama series about a British bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan.
His role as Branwell will see him getting to grips with a character who struggled to find a niche in life, despite being a capable scholar and a published poet.
Branwell worked as a portrait painter, a tutor and a railway clerk, but his health was badly affected by his dependence on drink and opium. He died in 1848, aged just 31, and is interred in the family vault in Haworth.
Mr Thomas, who is himself a lifelong Bronte fan, said despite the many bleaker elements of the family’s story, his film will also celebrate their resilience and success.
He added he wants the film to be faithful to history, while being accessible to audiences unfamiliar with the Brontes’ work.