Jillian Nguyen.

After making her feature film debut in Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang Jillian Nguyen has landed the lead female role in Ivan Sen’s Loveland.

The actress who was born to Vietnamese parents in a refugee camp in Malaysia will star alongside Hugo Weaving and Ryan Kwanten in the romantic sci-fi drama produced by Bunya Productions.

Set in the neon twilight of a futuristic Chinese influenced mega-city, it follows two lonely souls, Kwanten’s Jack, a hardened assassin, and Nguyen’s April, a nightclub singer. Weaving is a genetic scientist named Dr Bergman.

Together Jack and April search for what it once was to be human until it confronts them, revealing the true mystery of their existence. Shooting starts in Hong Kong and Brisbane on February 25.

Screen Queensland funded the development which started five years ago, is the principal investor and is cash-flowing the Producer Offset. Tarik Coskun at US-based Maestro Productions is co-financing.

Rock Salt Releasing, a new label specialising in auteur films launched by US sales banner TriCoast Worldwide, will shop the film at EFM in Berlin next month. Bunya will co-distribute in Australia with Madman Entertainment.

David Jowsey, who is producing with Greer Simpkin, said: “Screen Queensland has been a great champion of the project, with Jo Dillon having a fantastic influence over the screenplay.

“We are very excited to bring Ivan Sen’s incredible vision for Loveland to the big screen. It will look simply stunning and we have high hopes for its international release.”

A set is being built in studios in Brisbane and the production will employ many of the local crew who worked on Sen’s Mystery Road and Goldstone.

Nguyen, who came to Australia when she was a baby, played Molly Kane in Kurzel’s film which stars George Mackay as Ned Kelly together with Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult, Charlie Hunnam and Essie Davis.

The actress, who is repped by Catherine Poulton Management, is a graduate of the full-time acting course at 16th Street Actors Studio in Melbourne. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Media Communication, from The University of Melbourne.

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