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Irish star Antonia lands role as girl in dungeon for eight years

IRISH actress Antonia Campbell-Hughes has landed the lead role in a bio-pic about the kidnapping of Natascha Kampush.

The 29-year-old is to play the Austrian 'dungeon' girl in a documentary about her 3,096 days in captivity.

Miss Kampush was abducted on her way to school in 1998, aged 10, and spent the next eight years being held in a basement by Wolfgang Priklopil.

Antonia, who featured in the movie Bright Star, will play the role of the young victim in her years spent imprisoned beneath the Austrian's home.

Miss Kampush, who now works as an Austrian TV presenter, had signed the rights to the film to German filmmaker Bernd Eichiniger. It was the last project he had been working on before he suffered a fatal heart attack last year.

He had been eyeing up Kate Winslet for the role, despite the fact she would have been twice the age of kidnapped Natascha. However, director Sherry Hormann has said that she wanted to cast "outside the box office", and for that reason Antonia would be "perfect".

"Bringing an outsider's point of view, Antonia Campbell-Hughes and Thure Lindhardt are perfectly suited to capture the overwhelming essence of the story," she said.

"It's a universal story: the insanity of the act lies within the act itself, no matter where it takes place."

Miss Kampush attracted worldwide media attention when she escaped from Priklopil's Vienna house on August 23, 2006, aged 18.



Heinous

Priklopil killed himself the same day by jumping in front of a train, claiming he would "never be caught alive" for the heinous kidnapping.

The true-life horror film is set to be titled 3096 -- the number of days Natascha spent confined and isolated in a cellar. Antonia will have the challenging role of playing almost all of her scenes in a room which camera man on the production Michael Ballhaus described as being "the size of a sauna".

She will be playing opposite Danish actor Thure Lindhardt who will play her kidnapper. Natascha as a child will be played by 10-year-old Amelia Pidgeon.

Filming begins in Munich next month.

hnews@herald.ie

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