Sullivan Stapleton and Alex Russell will play ex-cons in Cut Snake, Matchbox Pictures’ crime thriller directed by Tony Ayres, which shoots in Melbourne in late October.
Also attached is Jessica De Gouw, a fast-rising Aussie actress who stars in TV's Arrow and the upcoming series Dracula, which features Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the vampire who’s brought back to life and poses as an American entrepreneur.
The producers are Trevor Blainey (Noise) and Matchbox Pictures’ Michael McMahon (The Home Song Stories, Lou, The Slap).
Written by Blake Ayshford (The Time of Our Lives, The Straits), Cut Snake is described as a tense, psychologically-driven crime thriller in which one man discovers his biggest enemy to putting the past behind him is himself.
It marks a return to the big screen for Ayres who directed a segment of Tim Winton’s The Turning, episodes of The Slap, executive-produced Underground: The Julian Assange Story and directed the upcoming ABC series Nowhere Boys.
Russell plays Sparra Farrell, a young guy who has recently been released from prison. He moves to a new city intending to start a new life and hooks up with the beautiful Paula (De Gouw).
But when the brutal ex-crim Pommie (Stapleton) tracks him down, Sparra realises he’ll have to fight to keep the past from ruining his future. Paula has no idea about her fiancé's past as Pommie ramps up his campaign to lure Sparra back into crime. Against a backdrop of betrayal and murder, Sparra is forced to battle not just Pommie, but his own private demons, to save Paula and himself.
Stapleton is on a roll after starring in Gangster Squad, playing the lead in 300: Rise of an Empire and the co-lead in Cinemax/Sky TV’s Strike Back.
He’s set to star in Kriv Stenders’ Kill Me Three Times, a thriller that shoots in Perth in mid-September, co-starring Simon Pegg, Ben Mendelsohn and Brazilian actress Alice Braga.
Russell’s credits include the movies Chronicle, Bait, The Host and the upcoming remake of Carrie, in which he appears with Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore and Judy Greer.
Cut Snake is funded by Screen Australia, Film Victoria, MIFF Premiere Fund, Deluxe and Ingenious. Hopscotch is the Australian distributor and eOne is handling international sales. The film will premiere at the 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival.