ScreenDaily is reporting that A Date for Mad Mary breakout star Seána Kerslake has signed to play the lead in Lee Cronin’s feature debut The Hole in the Ground. In addition, the film’s worldwide sales rights have been acquired by Bankside Films.

Kerslake will play a young single mother who is trapped between rationality and the unexplained as she becomes convinced her little boy has been transformed by something sinister from the depths of a mysterious sinkhole. Cronin co-wrote the script with Stephen Shields (The Republic of Telly).

Cronin is no stranger to horror, having directed the multi-award-winning short Ghost Train, which won the Melies D’Argent Award for Best Fantastic Short Film in 2015. He will work again with his DoP on that project, Tom Comerford, as well as with producers John Keville and Conor Barry of Savage Productions. The latter three worked on forthcoming Irish feature Pilgrimage, which will have its European premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh in July. Conor Denisson (The Third Wave) is production designer and Colin Campbell (The Young Offenders) is the editor.

In addition to Savage Productions, The Hole in the Ground is co-produced by Benoit Roland of Wrong Men in Belgium and Ulla Simonen of MADE in Finland and is to be funded by The Irish Film Board with the participation of Head Gear Films. Hilary Davis and Stephen Kelliher will executive produce for Bankside Films.

Having worked with Lee from the very beginning, we are massively excited to finally be bringing Lee’s debut feature to the screen. Stephen and Bankside’s passion and enthusiasm for the script has never wavered and we are thrilled to have them on board.
John Keville – Savage Productions

We are delighted to see Lee Cronin making his debut feature film The Hole In The Ground which we have supported throughout development. His award-winning shorts have shown Lee to be an engaging and dynamic storyteller with strong visual flair. This talent, combined with the casting of rising Irish star Seána Kerslake, who has been winning over audiences in her recent roles, makes for a very interesting prospect. We hope international buyers and audiences share our enthusiasm for the project.
James Hickey – Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board, Chief Executive

Having known Lee, John and Conor for a very long time, I am delighted to be involved with bringing Lee’s distinctive voice and vision to audiences with this truly original horror.  The Hole In The Ground will be an authored genre film in the vein of The Babadook, but with Lee’s own unique touch, we are looking forward to introducing the project to buyers in Cannes.
Stephen Kelliher – Bankside Films

The Hole in the Ground is due to begin filming in late summer.

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