FILM-MAKERS preparing to shoot a feature film surrounding the mysterious death of T.E Lawrence have announced their leading man - and he’s no stranger to Dorset.

The upcoming film Lawrence: After Arabia - to be shot on location in the county- will take a new look at the circumstances surrounding the untimely death of the military officer, archaeologist, diplomat and Arabist, dramatising rumours that he was assassinated by intelligence services.

Playing the leading role will be Tom Barber-Duffy, a Bournemouth-born actor who directors say has the “intensity” for the role and “could play a younger and older Lawrence.”

Film-maker Mark Griffin said: “Tom trained formally as an actor at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Since graduating, Tom has played a number of theatre roles and starred in his second feature film, Anti Matter, playing the male lead, Nate. Tom has completed a number of short films, had a role in the film Imitation Game and roles in TV including Downton Abbey and Tank Men.”

The film will focus on the last years of Lawrence’s life in the early 1930s when, having returned from his famous adventures battling the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, he lived in a cottage, Clouds Hill, near Bovington Camp.

In 1935, Lawrence was fatally injured in a motorcycle crash when he swerved to avoid two boys on their bicycles on a road near his home. While his death was recorded as an accident, Mr Griffin believes he may have been killed on the orders of the British secret service.

Principal photography is scheduled for spring 2019, but a mini-shoot with key characters and scenes is set to take place in Dorset and France in mid-October.

Other actors in the film include Nicole Ansari Cox - wife of actor Brian Cox - playing Sarah Lawrence, and Dorset-based Celia Muir, Steve Rollins, Rick Savery, Russell Biles and Mervyn Sutter.

While the film has raised its pre-production and production budget, it is hoped post-production costs will be raised by ‘angels’ - film lovers who want to be part of movie-making history. In exchange for a small investment, sponsors will be credited as associate producers, appear as an extra or watch filming. Bosses are also searching for corporate sponsors.

Principal photography is due to be completed in June 2019, with a film release date of May 21, 2020.

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