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Irish actress lands Kampusch roll

Irish actress Antonia Campbell Hughes has been chosen to play the role of Austrian child kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch in a film to begin shooting next month.

Kampusch personally agreed rights to the movie after signing a deal with German writer Bernd Eichinger but the plan was put on hold after his death in January last year. Eichinger is best known for his work "Downfall" about Adolf Hitler's last days.

Although the filming had not started when the writer died, 60 pages of the screenplay were complete for "3096" and it is now going into production.

Northern Ireland-born actress Campbell Hughes, 29, who appeared in the 2009 film "Bright Star", will play Kampusch during the cellar years, while another child actor, Amelia Pidgeon, 10, from London, will play the actress prior to her kidnapping.

She was kidnapped by pervert Wolfgang Priklopil in 1998 aged 10 on her way to school in Vienna and kept captive for over eight years. He committed suicide shortly after her escape.

Although initially it was claimed that she was kept in a cellar for eight years – it later emerged that she had often been allowed to stay in the house above and had even made visits with her kidnapper to a ski resort.

Priklopil, from whom she escaped in 2006, will be played by Danish actor Thure Lindhardt whose biggest role was in the Hollywood film "Illuminati".

The title of the film which will first be shot in Munich is called "3096" after the number of days of Kampusch's captivity. This was also the title of her book about her ordeal published in 2010.

The director is Sherry Hormann and the head cameraman is her husband Michael Ballhaus.

Speaking about the challenges of the assignment Ballhaus said: "The biggest problem was that 60 per cent of the camerawork had to be filmed in a room that was about the size of a sauna. It's a real challenge to make something like that interesting enough so that people don't leave the cinema five minutes after it started."

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