Aussie comedy lays bare sex and secrets

12 July, 2013 by Don Groves

Billed by the producers as an “intelligent comedy about sex and secrets,” The Little Death starts shooting in Sydney on July 29.

Illustrating its risqué premise, the film’s title is derived from Le Petit Mort, French slang for orgasm.


The film marks the feature directing and screenwriting debut of US-based actor Josh Lawson, a regular in the TV series House of Lies, who appears with Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate in the upcoming Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

The narrative explores the lives of five seemingly normal couples who reside in the same neighbourhood. Lawson will play a role and the other casting is being finalised.

Matt Reeder is producing for See Pictures and the investors include UK financier Head Gear, Deluxe and Red Apple Camera Rentals. This represents a new model for funding low-budget films, due to be unveiled at this month’s MIFF 37ºSouth Market. EOne Hopscotch is the Australian distributor and Bankside will handle foreign sales.

See Pictures was formed three years ago by filmmaker Michael Petroni and producer Jamie Hilton, who are preparing to shoot Backtrack, a supernatural thriller written and directed by Petroni, in Sydney in October.

The plot revolves around a psychologist whose life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers his patients are all ghosts of people who died in an accident 20 years earlier. Hilton and Antonia Barnard are producing, with funding from Screen Australia, Screen NSW, the 40% producer offset, Australian distributor Madman Entertainment, Deluxe, Spectrum and sales agent Bankside. Casting is underway.

It will be Petroni’s first Australian film since 2002’s Till Human Voices Wake Us. Based primarily in the US for 15 years, he co-wrote the screenplay of Disney’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Most recently Petroni wrote the screenplay of The Book Thief, a WWII drama set in Germany based on a novel by Markus Zusak, starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and French-Canadian actress Sophie Nélisse.

He’s also scripted Three Little Words, adapted from an Ashley Rhodes-Courter novel about a Florida girl who went missing in the child welfare system for nine years until an unpaid volunteer found her. Amanda Seyfried and Reese Witherspoon are in negotiations to star, with James Mangold directing.