It is one of Scotland's enduring mysteries, a haunting incident at a remote lighthouse twenty miles west of Lewis that has inspired poets, composers and even rock bands.

Now the mystery of the disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from the Flannan Isles Lighthouse, on Eilean Mor, is to reach the big screen, with a star cast featuring Hollywood actors Gerard Butler and Peter Mullan, and up and coming young talent Joe Alwyn.

The movie casts a dramaitc new spin on the 1900 mystery, when keepers Thomas Marshall, James Ducat and Donald MacArthur vanished from the lighthouse in parlous weather.

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No sign of struggle was found in the lighthouse: only an overturned chair and one set of unusued oilskins was found, suggesting one of the keepers had left without them - but the beds were unmade, the clocks stropped, the lamps clean and refilled, with the island itself severely damaged by storms.

The mystery, in which the bodies of the men were never found, inspired a Doctor Who episode Horror of Fang Rock, a Genesis song, Wilfrid Wilson Gibson's ballad Flannan Isle and The Lighthouse, an opera by the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

The mystery is now the basis for the movie, Keepers, which sees "a trio of lighthouse keepers pitted against one another" and could be shot in Scotland next year.

It will be directed by the award winning Danish film maker Kristoffer Nyholm, who directed The Killing and The Enfield Haunting.

It is being made by Mad as Birds, a production company based in Wales and Yorkshire, as well as Cross Creek Pictures, who worked on Black Mass, Rush, Everest and the forthcoming Hacksaw Ridge.

A synopsis for the film suggests a more fanciful take on the fate of the keepers than perhaps what happened in reality - a lighthouse board investigation suggested the men had been swept away by a freak wave whilst working on the island's damaged landing.

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It says: "As Thomas (Mullan), James (Butler) and Donald (Alwyn) settle into their usual, solitary routines, something unexpected and potentially life-changing occurs- they stumble upon something that isn’t theirs to keep. Where did it come from? Who does it belong to? A boat appears in the distance that might hold the answer to these questions… What follows is a tense battle for survival as personal greed replaces loyalty - and fed by isolation and paranoia, three honest men are led down a path to destruction."

The script has been written by screenwriter Celyn Jones and actor and writer Joe Bone.

Nyholm said: “I feel incredibly fortunate to have Gerard Butler, Peter Mullan and Joe Alwyn leading the cast of Keepers- great actors who are deeply committed to this project, and who will go the distance.

"These men are the strong and unique characters at the heart of this story, which is a journey from innocence to animalistic survival. Keepers was great to read, will be an adventure to make, and terrifying to watch."

Mad as Birds are supported by Ffilm Cymru Wales and as yet Creative Scotland are not involved in the film.

The producers hope to film in Scotland, they said, but locations will not be decided until before Christmas.

Read more: Plans launched to save the last relic of the Highland's floating church

Co-writers Jones and Bone said in a statement: “Our objective was to create a unique script that Kristoffer wanted to direct, great actors wanted to perform and a wide audience will want to see.

"We also wanted to say something poignant about trust and the frailty of the human condition.

"Keepers has all the shock and awe life can offer, wrapped up in a film that we hope will cling to its audience well after the last reel stops turning in the cinema."

Protagonist Pictures are selling the international rights to the fillm,

Its chief executive, Mike Goodridge, said: “This project has been close to our hearts for a couple of years now, so it’s exciting to see it come together with such a perfect cast.

"We have been waiting for Kristoffer Nyholm to commit to his first feature film, so are thrilled to be presenting this heartstoppingly suspenseful package."