Lena_HeadeyEXCLUSIVE: The Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actress will lead the cast in a new Brit shocker being planned for next year. Michael Ironside (Terminator Salvation) is also attached. Offers are out to Kate Mara (Iron-Man 2) and Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica).

Safe House, which is due to begin filming next March, follows a team of US Marshals charged with protecting a mob-trial witness and her teenage daughter, Alice. Mother and daughter are relocated to an isolated compound high in the Californian Rockies. The location appears secure — outfitted specifically for witness protection — yet its past is steeped in mystery and violence…

Producer Steve Iles of Spirit Pictures pitches it as “Assault On Precinct 13 meets The Thing.” The director is Simon Hunter, whose last movie was Mutant Chronicles.Safe House is totally different from Chronicles, which was a big canvas,” Hunter tells me. “This is a world that I’m going to portray in an extremely realistic way.”

Andy Briggs, who wrote Aquaman for Warner Bros and has worked with Stan Lee and Robert Evans, has written the screenplay and is also producing.

The filmmakers are certainly building this one from the ground up to be a fanboy’s wet dream. Image Engine, the Canadian VFX shop which created the aliens in District 9, is in talks to do the monster design. Simon Bowles, who regularly works with Neil Marshall (The Descent), will be production designer. Prosthetics will be built by SFX veteran Shaune Harrison (Harry Potter, Star Wars). And Jeremy Zimmerman is casting director (Moon, Hellboy II).