PJ Hogan’s feature Mental, starring Toni Collette, will begin filming on the Gold Coast on July 25.
The film has attracted an all-star cast who will appear alongside Collette, who plays Shaz, a charismatic, crazy, hotheaded hitchhiker, who transforms the Moochmore family when she becomes the nanny to its five girls. Shaz joins the family after Shirley Moochmore (Rebecca Gibney), unable to cope with her demanding daughters and without the support of her philandering politician husband Barry (Anthony LaPaglia), is committed to a mental hospital.
Also joining the ensemble are Liev Schreiber (Salt), Kerry Fox (Cloudstreet), Caroline Goodall (Dorian Gray) Deborah Mailman (Bran Nue Dae), and Sam Clark (Neighbours).
The actors cast as the Moochmore girls (Coral, Michelle, Leanne, Kayleen and Jane) were selected through an open audition call and will be announced shortly.
Mental, set in the suburban landscape of Tweed Heads, is the first film to reunite Hogan and Collette since Muriel’s Wedding seventeen years ago.
“Like Muriel’s Wedding, Mental is a comedy laced with pain and brimming with flawed but loveable characters," Hogan said in a statement. "Shaz is hilarious, outrageous, dangerous, courageous, inspiring, heart-breaking and totally, totally mad.”
The film is written and directed by PJ Hogan, who has based the film on personal experience, and produced by Jerry Zucker, Janet Zucker, Todd Fellman and Jocelyn Moorhouse.
Zucker, who last collaborated with Hogan on My Best Friend’s Wedding said: “I'm thrilled to be back in the magical world of PJ Hogan. PJ has once again written a brilliant screenplay filled with all the bizarre and lovable characters from his childhood. I can't wait to see it all come to life in Queensland where it all began."
Universal Pictures International Australasia managing director Mike Baard said: "To be part of the reunion of the Muriel's Wedding team is an honour and we intend to provide the filmmakers with the support to bring their film to the widest possible audience in Australia and New Zealand."
Filming is set to begin on Monday, July 25 and end on Friday, September 23.