Michael Caton and Sam Neill (Photo: Merlyn Moon).
Production is underway in Western Australia on WBMC’s RAMS, directed by Jeremy Sims – an adaptation of Icelandic film Hrútar.
Leading the cast are Sam Neill and Michael Caton, who play two estranged brothers who live on adjourning sheep farms yet haven’t spoken in 40 years. When a rare disease threatens their flock, they have to work together to save their flock, their small town and their family’s legacy.
Also set to star are Wayne Blair, Leon Ford, Travis McMahon, Asher Keddie, Hayley McElhinney, Kipan Rothbury and newcomers Asher Yasbincek and Will McNeill.
Hrútar, from writer-director Grímur Hákonarson, won the Un Certain Regard Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. However RAMS – adapted by WA screenwriter Jules Duncan – is promised to be “far from a ‘remake’” and a fresh interpretation of the film from an Australian perspective. It is shooting in WA’s Mount Barker and the surrounding Great Southern region.
Sims said: “I am excited to have the chance to take this elegant and powerful tale and set it in the place that I spent my summers growing up. This is a story about family, connected through land and community, and the relationships at the heart of those communities.
“Regional WA is a vast and complex place, and the Great Southern has such a unique flavour that audiences deserve to see it on the big screen. It is of course a privilege to work again with Michael Caton, and Sam Neill is one of my favourite actors and a legend of world cinema. I can’t wait to bring them together and see what happens.”
Produced by Janelle Landers and Aidan O’Bryan from WBMC, the film will be distributed Roadshow Films in ANZ with worldwide sales through WestEnd Films.
RAMS has received major production investment from Screen Australia, Screenwest and the Western Australian Regional Film Fund, the latter which has also backed Ben Elton’s Three Summers, Owen Trevor’s Go Karts, Bunya Productions’ Mystery Road for the ABC, and John Sheedy’s upcoming H is for Happiness.
Screen Australia head of production Sally Caplan said: “Jeremy Sims last collaborated with Michael Caton on the 2015’s stunning feature Last Cab to Darwin, evoking from this beloved actor a powerful performance that translated exceptionally well at the box office. I look forward to seeing the pair reunite with the dynamic Sam Neill added to this mix. Jules Duncan has given this story a uniquely Australian tone and we are confident this colourful and comedic film will resonate with audiences both in Australia and globally.”
Roadshow co-CEO, Joel Pearlman said: “We are thrilled to be working alongside such a talented team and with Jeremy at the helm, Rams will be unique in a way that Australians will love. The cast are fantastic and the natural landscapes of the Great Southern exemplify our relationship to the land and our community spirit, making it the perfect setting for this heart-warming tale to be told.”