Leah Purcell in 'Wentworth'.

Leah Purcell as Rita Connors in ‘Wentworth.’

After Leah Purcell is released from lockdown – literally – when filming of Wentworth wraps in early September, she will resume developing a raft of feature film and TV projects including a series based on her play and movie The Drover’s Wife the Legend of Molly Johnson.

The writer-director-actor’s agenda includes one of the segments of Shakespeare Now, the ABC’s female-driven anthology.

Supported by Screen Australia story development funding, Hoodlum Entertainment and Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment are developing the fresh re-interpretations of 10 Shakespeare plays.

Purcell, who plays Rita Connors in Wentworth, will write, direct and star in her segment, title under wraps.

Leah and her Oombarra Productions’ partner Bain Stewart are collaborating on several projects with Andrew Wareham’s Taxi Film Production, part of the Taxi group.

Screen Queensland’s Enterprise funding is supporting their joint venture Tahlee Productions to develop and produce content locally and to nurture early-to-mid career Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queensland storytellers.

Stewart, who will establish an office at Taxi’s Brisbane headquarters, tells IF he had long wanted to work with Wareham, whose brother is DOP Mark Wareham.

That chance came when Wareham agreed to become an equity investor in and serve as an executive producer on The Drover’s Wife, which Stewart produced with Bunya Productions’ David Jowsey, Angela Littlejohn and Greer Simpkin.

Stewart says Roadshow will likely release the revenge Western, shot by Mark Wareham, which stars Purcell, Rob Collins, Sam Reid, Jessica de Gouw, Benedict Hardie and Harry Greenwood next year, hopefully after it premieres at one of the major film festivals.

Taxi Film Production will collaborate with Oombarra on The Drover’s Wife series, which will focus on events immediately after the film then skip to Johnson’s son and daughter as adults in their mid-30s. A streaming service is the most likely platform, according to Stewart.

Those two entities will also partner on a drama series created by Purcell, inspired by her childhood in Queensland’s South Burnett region, which will follow a group of Indigenous women in a small town who played netball as kids. Now aged in their mid-40s, they still play the sport while their lives are unraveling.

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