Who says grief cannot get better? After playing the poor doomed nice Lannister boy, Tommen Baratheon, in Game of Thrones for three seasons (right up to the character’s ignominious suicide), Dean-Charles Chapman is rebounding better than his character by taking the leading role in Here are the Young Men, and opposite the rising star of The Witch and Split, Anya Taylor-Joy, at that. The casting of both was announced Friday, as were the additions of Peaky Blinders’ Finn Cole and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Sing Street), who also signed on to star in the youth in revolt film based on the debut novel of the same name by Irish author Rob Doyle.
Cast by writer-director Eoin C. Macken, Chapman will play Matthew, a character the logline describes as “aimless” and having been “pulled into the world of toxic masculinity” during an especially listless Dublin summer in 2003. He may wind up being brought down by his conspiratorial mate Kearney (Cole), yet he still yearns for his childhood crush Jen (Taylor-Joy), a young woman on her own path. Walsh-Peelo’s Rez is meanwhile described as succumbing to the boys’ “paranoia.”
The novel on which the film is based was published in 2014, when The Irish Times favorably compared the book to other grim ‘delinquent fiction’ like A Clockwork Orange, Trainspotting, and Fight Club. Giving the book high marks for its bluntness, the IT shined a bit more light on the subject, describing the protagonists of the book as malcontent youths who gorge themselves on drugs, booze, video games, and pornography. Obsessed with sex and reveling in images of 9/11, Columbine, and the Iraq War, these kids are “lost boys run amok on Pleasure Island.”
This marks a change for Taylor-Joy, who caught international attention for her work in The Witch and who has also done a number of horror-adjacent genre films since, including Split and the upcoming Glass and New Mutants, the latter being an X-Men spinoff. She also did strong work in the overlooked indie-thriller, Thoroughbreds. Chapman meanwhile was the second actor to play poor, sweet Tommen on Game of Thrones, perhaps the only Lannister who had a chance of being a fully good person. But after his mother killed his queen, his character was written out of the series by going out the window like he was in a stoic Monty Python skit. He has since appeared on AMC’s Into the Badlands and in the Liam Neeson action-thriller, The Commuter. Cole, meanwhile, has also has appeared in TNT’s Animal Kingdom.
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The new film, which is being produced by Richard Bolger and Noah Haeussner, will also feature Game of Thrones alumni Conleth Hill. He plays Varys on the HBO series. Filming for the film is scheduled to begin later this month.