Game of Thrones' Keisha Castle-Hughes and A Place to Call Home's Craig Hall will play the leads in X Was Here, the feature writing and directing debut of Clara Chong.
In the multi-generational drama Hall will play Rory, a talented photographer who, at 42, isn’t where he wants to be, lacking a home, a girlfriend and a successful career.
He meets 29-year-old Ryan (Castle-Hughes), the eldest of three siblings who had led a selfish life until she discovers a talent for cooking. Ryan recognises Rory’s talent and hard work and encourages him to let go, allowing unexpected things to happen.
As IF had reported, John Jarratt will play Rory’s father, a baby boomer, with Michael Caton as the grandfather, a pre-boomer.
It’s the debut feature from The Film Bakery, produced by cinematographer/producer Ben Allan. Chong, a commercials and documentary director, started writing the screenplay five years ago. She is being mentored by experienced producers Posie Graeme-Evans, who will serve as EP, and Matt Carroll.
Allan says Castle-Hughes and Hall responded quickly to the script and characters as well as the chance to work with Jarratt and Caton.
"Getting the right mix of cast across the generations for X Was Here is a remarkably challenging task and this ensemble is the result of a wonderful creative collaboration with our casting director Leigh Pickford at Maura Fay,” Allan says.
Chong says, “Craig is a consummate chameleon and serious craftsman who brings great leadership and depth to the role of our reluctant hero Rory. Keisha’s fierce intelligence and emotional connectivity will showcase the complexities of Ryan as she battles for self-redemption and culinary perfection.”
Both Kiwi-born, the Los Angeles-based Castle-Hughes and Hall, whose credits include Catching Milat, The Doctor Blake Mysteries and TVNZ’s true-life telemovie Venus and Mars, are good friends.
Hall's international profile is set to soar as he is playing the adult Pete in Disney’s remake of Pete’s Dragon alongside Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Karl Urban and young Oakes Fegley.
Allan is raising the finance from Australian and international investors and, after casting the leads, is initiating conversations with distributors and international sales agents.
He believes Caton’s much-acclaimed performance in Last Cab to Darwin will enhance the film’s appeal. The plan is to start shooting in Sydney before the end of this year.
Matt Town, who was post production supervisor on Mad Max: Fury Road, is serving as post consultant. Town and the filmmakers are mapping out an innovative digital work flow which will mean things like colour grading and editing can be handled simultaneously.