A lead role had been landed by Samantha Barks, the talented young Manx woman who shared the stage at this year’s Oscars with the rest of the Les Miserables cast, including Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. Other cast in The Christmas Candle are Susan Boyle, John Hannah, Hans Matheson, Lesley Manville and Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who).
The film will be directed by John Stephenson, who visited the Island in 2003 to make Five Children and IT starring Eddie Izzard and Kenneth Branagh. Samantha's profile has been on a steady rise since making her name on BBC's I'd Do Anything. Samantha said:
'Having just landed from the Academy Awards I had an hour to unpack and repack and get to set. I'm very excited to be part of The Christmas Candle and I'm loving every second.'
The Christmas Candle is a timeless and inspirational story based on the novel by bestselling author, Max Lucado. Nothing out of the ordinary ever happens in the small village of Gladbury - except at Christmas. Legend has it that every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches a single candle. Whoever lights the Christmas Candle receives a miracle on Christmas Eve. But in 1890, at the dawn of the modern age, all that is about to change. With the arrival of David Richmond, a skeptical, young minister, Gladbury's humble candlemaker, Edward Haddington must fight to preserve his family's legacy. When the Christmas Candle goes missing, the miraculous and the human collide in the most astonishing Christmas the town of Gladbury has ever seen.
Laurence Skelly MHK, Member for Department of Economic Development with responsibility for Film and Media said:
'I'm pleased our recent partnership with Pinewood Shepperton continues to deliver quality productions to the Island. We all know that every film made here uses our local talent and skills, but on this occasion we are extremely proud that the Manx talent will be on-screen as well as off-screen! More importantly, it offers local businesses another opportunity to benefit from local spend – accommodation, retail, transport, facilities - towards the end of the off-peak tourist season.'
Isle of Man Film's Hilary Dugdale added:
'The Christmas Candle marks our 102nd production made since 1995. It is a truly uplifting story which has the makings of a seasonal classic and we hope it will be ready for December 2013.'