Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell will star in a pilot for a new AMC drama set during the American War of Independence.

Set in colonial New York, Long Island and Connecticut, Turn is about a band of young soldiers and civilians who come together to form American's first top-secret spy ring.

Bell will play the lead role of Abraham Woodhull, a cabbage farmer living in a small town in Long Island who begins spying on British colonialists for the Patriot cause in the lead up to the American War of Independence.

The show has been written by Nikita creator Craig Silverstein and the pilot will be directed by Rise of the Planet of the Apes's Rupert Wyatt. The pilot is being produced by AMC, the makers of Mad Men.

Turn will mark Bell's major television debut, having made his acting breakthrough in Billy Elliot and since starring in films such as 2005's King Kong, 2008's Defiance and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in 2011.