Claudia Karvan, Noni Hazlehurst and Stephen Curry. (Photo credit: Andreas Bommert)
Writer-director JJ Winlove could not have wished for a better cast for his debut feature June Again.
Now shooting in Sydney, the comedy-drama stars Noni Hazlehurst as June, a woman who experiences a medical miracle, after which she has only a few days to bring together her estranged children, save the family’s wallpaper business and rekindle an old flame.
Claudia Karvan and Stephen Curry are playing her children in the movie produced by Jamie Hilton, Michael Pontin, Drew Bailey and Isabel Stanfield for See Pictures.
The Wellington-born Winlove wrote the screenplay in 2017, aiming to appeal to older cinemagoers. His LA-based agent, Verve’s Parker Davis, and his manager Scott Carr shopped the project and Hilton pounced.
He wrote several more drafts until the producers started the casting process via casting director Kirsty McGregor. The three leads all sparked to the script and signed on after watching the director’s shorts Life is Risky (an anthology of 12 stories exploring life and death in the modern world) and The Mind Job.
Winlove studied photography at the Wellington School of Design before moving to Sydney to work as a photographic assistant and graphic designer before beginning a career in advertising as an art director. He signed with Verve after Davis saw The Mind Job online.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to be working with such a great bunch of people on both sides of the camera who’ve all come together to make this film happen,” Winlove said. “The attitude, energy and positivity of everyone on board is just incredible.”
Asked how he is handling the jump from shorts to a feature, he tells IF: “It’s less stressful than I felt doing shorts.”
Hazlehurst said: “The whole cast really responded to JJ’s script. It’s a fabulous opportunity to play a character like June.”
Karvan, who was eager to work with Hazlehurst for the first time and to renew acquaintance with Curry, added: “June Again is an artfully constructed script which is both funny and bittersweet.”
The production is supported by Headgear Films, Spectrum Films and Create NSW. Ticket to Ride Distribution reps the film worldwide. The DOP is Hugh Miller, whose credits include Ben Lawrence’s Hearts and Bones and Ghosthunter and Jen Peedom’s Sherpa.
Pontin said: “It’s refreshing to find a screenplay with such a strong female lead in her 60s. The audience for this film are voracious cinemagoers, and this story has huge heart and broad appeal.”