‘Downton’ star joins Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen in WW2 drama

An amazing cast has been announced for The King’s Speech producers’ new period drama.

Adapted from Ben McIntyre’s best-selling book by Masters of Sex writer Michelle Ashford, Operation Mincemeat is set during World War II in 1943.

The movie begins filming in London, England and Spain later this month.

Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street) will lead the cast.

They’ll be joined by Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey), Johnny Flynn (Vanity Fair), Tom Wilkinson (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire), Hattie Morahan (Official Secrets), Simon Russell Beale (Mary Queen of Scots), Paul Ritter (Chernobyl) and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock).

The official synopsis reads: “Set in 1943, the film follows two brilliant intelligence officers, Ewen Montagu (Firth) and Charles Cholmondeley (Macfadyen) who conceived a plan that was dubbed Operation Mincemeat.

“They would trick the Nazis into thinking that Allied forces were planning to attack southern Europe by way of Greece rather than Sicily. Their plan was to get a corpse, equip it with misleading papers, then drop it off the coast of Spain where Nazi spies would take the bait.”

Director John Madden commented: “Ben Macintyre’s book presents an irresistible range of characters navigating a world suspended between unreliable fact and enticing fiction, and demands a cast to match.

“I’m very excited about the ensemble that we’ve been able to bring together – a credit to Michelle’s Ashford’s rich and surprising script, which tells an extraordinary and thrilling story in unexpectedly human terms.”

Operation Mincemeat is expected to be released in cinemas in 2020.

Penelope Wilton reprised her role as Isobel Crawley in the Downton Abbey movie earlier this autumn.

The Downton Abbey movie is available on DVD on Amazon.