“I've been passionate about making Cut Snake for many years now,” says Tony Ayres, the Chinese-born Australian writer-director behind Walking on Water and The Home Song Stories. “For me, it's the combination of it being a thriller and a relationship drama, which makes it so exciting.”
Set to start shooting in Melbourne next month, Cut Snake revolves around young, recently released ex-con Sparra Farrell (played by Alex Russell, Wasted on the Young, Chronicle). Farrell intends to make a fresh start in a new city, and becomes engaged to Paula (rising star Jessica De Gouw, Arrow, These Final Hours), who knows nothing about his shady past. However, it isn't long before his menacing former partner-in-crime Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton, Animal Kingdom, Gangster Squad) hunts him down in an attempt to lure him back to his old ways.
Local actor Stapleton, who will also feature in Kriv Stender's forthcoming Kill Me Three Times, says "I have always wanted to work with Tony Ayres and look forward to coming home and doing a job using my own accent."
Ayres assures Cut Snake, which is written by Blake Ayshford (All Saints, The Straits), won't be your average tale of an ex-con struggling to overcome his shady past. “Ayshford has written a sensational script which has a nail biting, page-turning quality and yet has something original to say about the nature of love.”
Following his stint directing two episodes of the acclaimed TV mini-series The Slap, one segment of Tim Winton's fast-approaching portmanteau film The Turning, and working as a writer on the ABC series Nowhere Boys, Cut Snake will mark the director's first feature film since 2007. “In terms of being drawn back to feature films, the truth is, they are tricky beasts to finance and this film has taken a number of years to pull together,” Ayres reveals. “It's been the persistence and talent of my producers Trevor Blainey (Noise) and Michael McMahon (The Home Song Stories), which has given me this opportunity to direct a film again.”
Produced by Matchbox Pictures, Cut Snake will be funded by Screen Australia, Film Victoria, MIFF Premiere Fund, Ingenious and Deluxe. The film will be distributed locally by Hopscotch and internationally by eOne and will premiere at next year's Melbourne International Film Festival.