As Red Dog scampers towards $20 million at the Australian box-office, its producer Nelson Woss is planning two further canine adventures while director Kriv Stenders is developing five projects, none involving animals.
Both are stunned at the film's performance, amassing nearly $16 million after its seventh weekend, and are looking forward to its roll-out in the UK, where it will open next January on more than 300 screens, France and Latin America, with a US deal in the wings.
“I've learned in this game not to have any expectations because the minute you do you're bound to be disappointed,” said Stenders, none of whose previous efforts, The Illustrated Family Doctor, Blacktown, Boxing Day and Lucky Country, drew sizable audiences in Oz.
“I deliberately tried not to imagine anything. Even if I did, it's gone way beyond what I thought it would do.”
Stenders is developing five projects which all precede Red Dog, including a musical set in the world of synchronised swimming scripted by US writer Marissa Goodhill, which he's discussing with Roadshow; a WWII romantic drama based on a short story by Filipino-American writer Sabina Murray; and a low budget post-Apocalyptic love story which he's writing.
Also in the pipeline are two projects written by Andy Cox, his collaborator on Lucky Country: a sunken treasure comedy set in the Indonesian islands and a romantic comedy focussing on a guy who has Tourette's syndrome.
“I think I'll leave dogs alone for a little bit,” he said. “When you make films you want to challenge yourself each time. Personally I always want to do something that scares me.”
The director looks forward to working again with Woss at some point, explaining, “Nelson gave me a great break by allowing me to direct this film and it's been a wonderful experience.”
Woss confirms he's keen to reassemble the Red Dog creative team including Stenders for another movie and says he's fielding several offers for the US distribution and hopes to nail down a deal soon.
He's cagey on the details of the second and third films in his planned dog trilogy but tells SBS Film both are based on books by internationally famous authors, one is a period piece and the other is set in contemporary times.
Woss is working with Aaron Ryder, president of production at Los Angeles-based FilmNation Features, on a true crime story set in the world of Australian reptile smugglers, scripted American Daniel Taplitz, who wrote Red Dog.
He's also developing a long-in-the-works passion project based on the early days of the stage show The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies, originally set up with Paramount Pictures, which is no longer involved.
And he's collaborating with UK producer Steve Norris on Kenyan Runners, a film based on the true story of Brother Colm O'Connell, an Irish missionary who trained many of Kenya's Olympic athletes, which he likens to a City of God set in Africa.