Hong Kong actor Sean Li will play the lead role of a ghost hunter in 3D horror movie The Scrying, the debut film from Sydney-based producer Brian Lai and writer-director John Le.
Due to start shooting in Sydney on May 27, the film will also feature Millie Samuels, a Charles Sturt University graduate who made her screen debut in Sarah Spillane's Around the Block and appears in the upcoming ABC-TV drama series The Gods of Wheat Street, and actor/singer/dancer Brady Kitchingham.
Lai and Le, who founded production company Film Venture Capital in 2009, raised the finance from Hong Kong investors for the project. Sean Li (pictured), who was educated in England and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City, starred in the Hong Kong films Dual Crisis, Permanent Residence and City Without Baseball.
His character, Zayden, films his exploits on a 3D camera and airs the footage on YouTube. He's called into investigate a haunted house by a paranormal enthusiast after a séance goes bad. The female lead is yet to be cast. Samuels will play her sister, with Kitchingham as their neighbour.
Lai says the characters will speak with American accents, specifically aiming to replicate the Los Angeles/Californian culture, to make the film more accessible to US audiences and relatable to YouTube enthusiasts. The primary target audience is aged 12-25, the core element of the YouTube generation. He says it's in the vein of James Wan's Insidious and The Conjuring, The Blair Witch Project and Chronicle.
Veteran US screenwriter Herschel Weingrod, whose impressive list of credits includes Twins, Trading Places, My Stepmother is an Alien, Kindergarten Cop and Space Jam, has served as a mentor to Le, helping to shape and polish the screenplay.
The film will be shot by US director of cinematography Chris Ripley, who has worked mostly on shorts and music videos, using two RED cameras.
The filmmakers hope the film will be the start of a franchise. They are in discussions with sales agents and distributors.