By Brendan Swift

Casting has begun on Stuart Beattie’s big screen directorial debut, Tomorrow, When The War Began, ahead of its nine-week shoot later this month.

The action film, based on local author John Marsden’s first novel in a popular series, will feature eight actors aged 17 to 18 in key roles.

The nine-week shoot begins on September 28, with the film due to be completed in June 2010, Beattie told an audience at the Australian International Movie Convention last week.

“I’ve always believed that Australian films should be able to play around the world, particularly in North America where we speak the same language,” he said. “We just need to find stories that are more universal and Tomorrow is exactly that: it’s about teenagers who want to get away from their parents.”

The story follows a group of teenagers on holiday in a remote area of Australia. When they return to civilisation they find that their country has been invaded and their families taken.

The film will contain four big action sequences, shot on 35mm film by cinematographer Ben Nott (Daybreakers, Accidents Happen).

Beattie has written the screenplays of several big Hollywood productions including Collateral, Australia and the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Tomorrow, his first effort as director, counts Omnilab, Screen Australia and distributor Paramount among its financiers.

“Very rarely in Australian independent filmmaking do you get to see a film that people have actually heard of. In America it’s all they do,” Beattie said.

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