Starfish: production started November 20th

This Facebook Page has shared what seems to be a press release about the start of filming Starfish in Rutland today, and includes a short quote from Tom about playing Tom Ray. Tom Ray himself tweeted good wishes to Jo and Tom this morning. The above photo was shared by Origami Films.

Independent British film, Starfish, starring Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey, Filth) and Tom Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons) starts production on 20th November 2015.

Starfish is based on the true-life story of Tom (Tom Riley) and Nicola Ray (Joanne Froggatt), whose lives changed overnight and beyond recognition when Tom contracted a rare and life-threatening illness. Tom survived, but at a price.

When Tom Ray puts his small daughter to bed one chilly December evening, he has a healthy body, a beautiful home and a wife, Nic, expecting their second child. By the next morning, all is in jeopardy as Tom is rushed to hospital with a dangerously uncertain prognosis. By the end of the year, Tom will have had four limbs amputated, parts of his face removed, and his life turned upside down.

However, Starfish is not simply a story about bad things happening to good people; it is a testament to the incredible things people are capable of when confronted with the unimaginable. It is a story of survival against the odds, not only for Tom but for their proud family unit. Tom and Nic show us, above all, what can be overcome when love is unconditional.

Starfish will be Joanne Froggatt’s first feature executive producer credit and her first feature film lead since winning worldwide acclaim, and a Golden Globe, as Anna in Downton Abbey. This was her second major award, following a British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer, as the lead in Brian Welsh’s In Our Name. edXAds by Rubicon Project

She says: “I have been truly inspired by Tom Ray and his family, and their incredible life and strength. I am honoured to be producing Starfish and dedicated to faithfully recreating his heart wrenching experience on the big screen.”

Tom Riley joins the film having gained international recognition and a BAFTA Cymru for his portrayal of the young Leonardo Da Vinci in the multi award-winning Da Vinci’s Demons.

Of playing the challenging lead role of Tom Ray, he says: “This is an incredible story and it is hugely important to us to be as accurate and truthful possible. Knowing we have Tom and Nic Ray on board to consult is a huge honour, and I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to bring their story to cinemas.”

Starfish is written and directed by Bill Clark (Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey), who has based the screenplay on interviews with Tom and Nicola Ray and on Tom’s extraordinary diaries. Bill has worked closely with Tom and Nic Ray throughout the process, and they will continue to consult during production.

Bill Clark comments: “I found Tom and Nic’s story fascinating, because their challenges came so unexpectedly. Tom never put himself at risk, didn’t do sports, wasn’t a military man. He just woke up and found himself in a nightmare. He really could be any of us. They are extraordinary ordinary people and I found their acts of everyday heroics incredibly inspiring.”

Starfish will be filmed this November in Tom and Nic’s home county of Rutland, where the production team has been welcomed with outstanding support from the local community, institutions and businesses.

The film is a Genesius Pictures presentation in association with Unlimited Pictures of a Starfish Pictures Limited production with Origami Films Ltd, CrossDay and What’s the Story. Producers are Pippa Cross (Chalet Girl, Bloody Sunday), Mel Paton and Ros Hubbard (A Hundred Streets). Executive producers are Debbie Gray (Northern Soul), Robbie Little and Julian Gleek for Genesius Pictures, Diana Phillips (Alfie, Bad Lieutenant), Claire Best and Peter Lang for Unlimited Pictures, Joanne Froggatt, Graeme Ough, Janette Day and Paul Fullagar.

Starfish will be distributed by Genesius Pictures though its sales and distribution company.