John Jarratt tied up in directing debut
Wolf Creek star John Jarratt is directing his first feature, StalkHer, a gritty black comedy in which he co-stars with Kaarin Fairfax, on the Gold Coast.
Directing oneself can’t be easy but the degree of difficulty is even greater here because Jarratt’s character is tied to a chair for most of the film.
The screenplay is by Kris Maric, who is partnered with Craig Kocinski and Jarratt in production company OZPIX Entertainment.
Maric likens the plot to an Australian version of Misery meets Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Jarratt’s character breaks into Fairfax’s house with evil intent and the tables are turned numerous times.
“It’s a cat-and-mouse game where you are not sure who is the cat and who is the mouse,” she tells IF from the set at the Village Roadshow Studios. Shooting started last Friday.
The executive producer is former Roadshow and Disney executive Alan Finney, who helped the filmmakers negotiate distribution deals. The Backlot Studios will handle theatrical bookings, Shock Media/Regency Entertainment will release on home entertainment and the international sales rep is UK-based Jinga Films.
Maric tells IF that Jarratt was keen to direct and star in a film which he could publicise this year, leveraging off Greg Mclean’s Wolf Creek 2, which Roadshow is launching on February 20.
Kocinski suggested the StalkHer screenplay, which Jarratt loved. The budget of nearly $1.3 million comes from private investors, the producer offset and Screen Queensland.
The DOP is Jody Muston, who was the focus puller/second camera operator on the first Wolf Creek. Recently she shot Nick Matthews’ thriller One Eyed Girl and was camera operator on Upper Middle Bogan.
Jarratt and Fairfax first met in the 1980 miniseries The Last Outlaw, in which he played Ned Kelly.
Maric says the producers opted to hire Backlot and pay for prints & advertising (funded by a private investor) in hopes of getting a much bigger share of B.O. revenues than the 20% which producers often receive.
This is the first film developed by OZPIX but its third feature following Bad Behaviour (a thriller directed by Joseph Sims, starring Jarratt, Lindsay Farris and Robert Coleby) and Nick McLean’s dramedy The Professional Idiot, which won the audience award at the 2012 Gold Coast Film Festival.
“We want to make cost-effective, distinctly Australian films that can travel overseas, while amping up the quality,” Kris says.