Bella Ramsey cast as world's most wanted terrorist in 'brave' new movie

Bella Ramsey at the AFI Awards Luncheon in Beverly Hills
-Credit: (Image: Jon Kopaloff/WireImage)

Leicestershire’s Bella Ramsey will play one of the world’s most wanted terrorists in their next movie role. The Last of Us star has already been praised as “brave” by its writer and director for taking on the “complex” part.

Bella, who studied acting at Loughborough’s Stagecoach Theatre, will play Samantha Lewthwaite - later known as Sherafiyah Lewthwaite - who became the ‘White Widow’, a woman said to be responsible for hundreds of deaths. Lewthwaite was a 21-year-old mum-of-two who had a seemingly normal life before she became a wanted terrorist.

Her story from ordinary beginnings to being a fugitive now forms the basis of the movie ‘Girl Next Door’. According to Deadline, writer-director Bruce Goodison wants the story to show more to Lewthwaite than her later terrorist dealings and reveal “her truth”.

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'Girl Next Door' will chronicle how Lewthwaite’s world changed forever when her husband Germaine was killed in the 7/7 London terror attacks. However, her husband was one of the four suicide bombers who killed 52 innocent civilians.

She denied any knowledge of the attacks, but it is widely believed she was radicalised by Germaine. Since the attacks, Lewthwaite has been accused of numerous other terror attacks linked to the militant group Al-Shabab where hundreds of people have been killed, including the Westgate shopping mall attack in Kenya which left 67 people dead.

In the wake of the attack, Lewthwaite was placed on a ‘Red Notice’ by Interpol. It was requested by Kenyan authorities and related to charges against Lewthwaite of possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a crime. As of last year, she remains on Interpol’s Most Wanted list.

A view of Interpol website with Samantha Lewthwait's 'Red Notice'
A 'Red Notice' Interpol notice for the arrest of Samantha Lewthwaite was issued back in 2013 -Credit:Oli Scarff/Getty Images

It is that path to that most wanted tag that Mr Goodison is exploring in the film, with extracts from her diary forming the plotline. Lewthwaite’s family, prior to her conversion to Islam, have also helped inform the movie.

He said: “This film is about a young life-affirming idealist with a broken heart. Sam turns her grief into a strength that was then exploited by men for purposes of global terror.”

The writer-director bills 'Girl Next Door' as an “unsettling mystery” that will look how Lewthwaite’s life changed when Germaine carried out his part in the 7/7 attacks. It is a role Mr Goodison said requires a “fearless” actor - and he believes Bella can handle it.

He said: “The film is unapologetically from Sam’s perspective – anyone playing Sam needs to be fearless. Bella Ramsey is the perfect fit. Bella will bring heart, life and complexity to this role.”

Filming on 'Girl Next Door' is expected to take place in October. A cinema release date has not been confirmed.

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