A new film being directed by Kim Farrant and starring Nicole Kidman and English actor Joseph Fiennes as the distraught parents of two teenage children missing in outback Australia, went into production in Sydney on Tuesday.
“I am always looking for the right script to bring me home to Australia,” said Kidman via the film’s publicist. “The moment I read Strangerland I knew this was a film I couldn't say no to. I'm looking forward to working on a film in Australia and I’m very excited to be working with Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving.”
Weaving plays the police officer leading the investigation into what happened to the teenagers, who are being played by Nicholas Hamilton and Maddison Brown, who has made quite a name for herself on the modeling circuit. The indigenous actors Lisa Flanagan and Meyne Wyatt are also on board what is being billed as a mystery drama.
It is not common to see actors of the calibre of the leads trust their reputations with a first-time feature director, although Farrant made a quite captivating 80-minute documentary called Naked on the Inside. Its key subjects were people with disabilities.
The film is all set in one town and is principally being filmed in Broken Hill, but cameras are currently rolling in Sydney and the cast and crew will travel on to the small picturesque town of Canowindra, in central western NSW, before heading to the so-called silver city. Canowindra also happens to be the hometown of Richard Payten, partner in distribution company Transmission, which has the Australian rights.
International sales are being handled by the very reputable company Wild Bunch.
While the story sounds very Australian, the project has an enormous amount of Irish input behind the cameras. The very successful Irish producer Macdara Kelleher is producing alongside Naomi Wenck, whose previous two features as a producer were the local films Newcastle and Ten Empty. Also, Irish short filmmaker Michael Kinirons and the very highly regarded Australian television writer Fiona Seres, who had the original idea, wrote the script.
The Irish Film Board has also contributed some finance but the bulk of the budget comes from US company Worldview Entertainment. Other contributions are from Screen Australia and Screen NSW. (When Screen Australia announced in October 2013 that it had approved investment Guy Pearce was attached but he’s since been replaced by Fiennes.)
Pictured: Nicole Kidman in Australia