Heath Davis goes for Broke

08 January, 2014 by Don Groves

Steve Le Marquand, Steve Bisley and Claire van der Boom are attached to star in Broke, an indie drama which deals with the topical issue of gambling in the NRL world.

It’s the debut feature of writer-director Heath Davis, who cut his teeth on the short films Bee Sting, Bella, Spoon Man and Rabbit, and The Jezabels Live at the Hordern DVD.


The producer is Luke Graham, who collaborated with Davis on those shorts, with Jonathan Page (the executive producer of The Babadook, 100 Bloody Acres and Max and Mary) as EP.

They aim to raise $55,000 via crowd funding site Indiegogo; the campaign launches next week. Davis says that money will match contributions from him, Graham and several private investors.

There is an altruistic angle: After the cast and skeleton crew have recouped their deferred fees, the profits will go to the Men of League Foundation, which was founded by Ron Coote and supports members of the rugby league community who have fallen on hard times with medical operations, rehabilitation, nursing equipment, welfare support, grants and scholarships.

Le Marquand will play Ben “BK” Kelly, a washed up, former rugby league star who has a gambling addiction. Bisley is cast as Cec, a rail worker who finds Kelly passed out on his train late one evening and decides to take him in. Helped by Cec and his single parent daughter Terri (van der Boom), BK tackles his demons and strives to win back the respect of the community.

“It’s an intimate tale of redemption, compassion and forgiveness,” says Davis, a league fan who grew up in Sydney’s Western Suburbs and based the lead character on an amalgam of people he knew directly or indirectly.

He says the role will enable Le Marquand to show a different, softer side of his personality, noting, “He usually plays goons or strong men.” He cast Bisley as a burly character who has the ability to go toe-to-toe with BK. 

Van der Boom, who is heading to the the US for pilots season after the AACTA awards, was the female lead  in The Square. Her credits include the US series Hawaii Five-0, The Pacific, Masters of Sex and Red Hill.    

He plans to make the film in Gladstone, Queensland, where he shot a "mood"  teaser, in the first quarter of 2014, possibly in April. The DOP is Chris Bland, who did two of his short films. He expects an 18-day shoot plus a few pick-up days, noting, “I don’t want it to look too polished.” 

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