Casting change for fantasy/adventure

24 March, 2014 by Don Groves

William Hurt has replaced Bill Nighy in one of the key supporting roles in The Moon and the Sun, a fantasy/adventure which starts shooting in Paris next week and moves to Melbourne in mid-April.

Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer, Bratz, Raise Your Voice) is directing the film based on a novel by Vonda McIntyre.


Pierce Brosnan heads the cast as King Louis XIV, who is determined to protect the future of France by reigning for all eternity. His search for immortality leads him to capture and steal the life force from a mermaid, but soon his 18-year-old illegitimate daughter discovers the mystical creature and strikes up a friendship with her.

Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing portrays the mermaid, a Gollum-type digital creation. Kaya Scodelario (TV’s Skins) plays the daughter, Marie-Josephe. Hurt is Pere La Chaise, spiritual adviser to the king. The producers said Nighy dropped out due to a scheduling conflict.

The cast includes Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’s Benjamin Walker as Yves, a young sea captain who is commissioned by the king to search the North Seas for the mermaid; Ben Lloyd-Hughes (who stars in Divergent, the No. 1  film in the US last weekend) as Lintillac, a wealthy young merchant who is angling for a position at court; and Orange is the New Black's Pablo Schreiber.

The producers are Bill Mechanic, former CEO and chairman of Fox Studios and producer of Coraline, LA-based Aussie Paul Currie, James Pang (Painted Skin: The Resurrection), Wei Han and David Brookwell.

The screenplay is by Mechanic, Ron Bass (an Oscar winner for Rain Man), James Schamus (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Barry Berman (Benny & Joon), and Laura Harrington.

Film Victoria, Screen NSW and Screen Queensland all pitched for the project and Ausfilm was co-operative. Victoria won out thanks to a combination of the location offset, state rebate, quality of the crews and the expertise of VFX houses, according to Currie.

The film will shoot at the Docklands Studios and locations in Victoria from mid-April through May. Universal’s Focus Features will release the film in the US and Good Universe is handling international sales.