Warwick Thornton and Sam Neill on the set of ‘Sweet Country.’
While movie sequels are relatively rare in Australia, the producers of Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country are convinced they have a new, compelling story which is worth telling.
Currently being scripted, the follow-up will look at events from the perspective of the mother of scrappy child labourer Philomac, played in the original by twins Tremayne and Trevon Doolan.
Philomac and old Aboriginal hand Archie (Gibson John) are sent by farmer Mick Kennedy (Thomas M. Wright) to work for Harry March (Ewen Leslie), who chains the boy to a rock on suspicion of stealing his watch. Philomac frees himself and March heads in pursuit, leading to a violent confrontation.
“Sweet Country was really the story of Sam (Hamilton Morris) and Philomac,” Bunya Productions’ David Jowsey, who produced with Greer Simpkin, tells IF. “Philomac has a sister and a mother, which is the untold part of the story that we are very excited to be telling.”
David Tranter, who co-wrote the original with Steven McGregor, has written the first draft. “We hope to bring the key creative team back together on the sequel,” adds Jowsey, who thinks it will take two years before the film is ready to shoot.
Sweet Country won six prizes at the AACTA Awards: best film, direction, lead actor (Morris), screenplay, cinematography (Thornton) and editing (Nick Meyers).
Released by Transmission, the period Western was the fourth highest grossing local film last year, making $2.02 million. It was released theatrically in 20 territories including the US, the UK, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and South America.
Asked if the investors can expect to recoup, Jowsey says: “It’s getting very close; it’s done very well.”