Producers unveil strategic alliance

26 February, 2014 by Don Groves

Morrissey Molloy Entertainment, Garry Charny’s Spotted Turquoise Films and Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Pictures have unveiled a joint venture which aims to produce at least six films.

The first two projects are Boys in the Trees, a drama starring Harrison Gilbertson and Alice Englert, and Wake Up Dead, which has Alex Russell and Luke Ford attached.


“We each bring different skills and strong national and international contacts to the joint venture,” Charny tells IF. The “matchmaker” was Maura Fay casting agent Marianne Jade, who is casting both films.

"She suggested we get together for a cup of coffee and we realised we were each producing a film we liked and respected,” said Molloy, who is developing Boys in the Trees for the co-venture between Mushroom and Morrissey Molloy.

Wake Up Dead is the first Australian film from Spotted Turquoise. Charny produced Ray Lawrence’s Jindabyne in his former role as head of April Films.

Both will now serve as producers on each other’s films. Boys in the Trees, which is up for the next round of financing at Screen Australia, will mark the feature debut of writer-director Nicholas Verso. Molloy produced Verso’s The Last Time I Saw Richard, which was named best short fiction film at the AACTA Awards.

Gilbertson (Beneath Hill 60, My Mistress, Need for Speed) will play Corey, a teen skater who’s unable to communicate with his widowed father and sets off on a surreal journey on Halloween night in 1997. Englert (Beautiful Creatures), the daughter of Jane Campion and filmmaker Colin Englert, will play Romany, Corey’s romantic interest. The cast includes Neighbors alum Toby Wallace and Justin Holborow.

Mark Morrissey, the principal of Morrissey Management, and Gudinski are executive producers. Molloy hopes filming will start mid-year. Arclight Films has international sales rights and Mushroom Pictures will handle Australian distribution.

Wake Up Dead is a murder mystery scripted by Nick Parsons (Dead Heart, TV’s The Straits). Joel Kohn and Josh Butt are also producing. John Sloss’ Cinetic Media is the US partner and US rep.

Russell (Carrie, The Host, Chronicle, Bait) will play a detective who investigates the death of a female student on campus, with Ford as a hard-bitten magazine editor who gets involved in the case. The director and female lead are yet to be finalised. The aim is to shoot late this year.

Separately, Mushroom Pictures and Essential Media and Entertainment’s Ian Collie are developing Violet Town, directed by Mark Joffe, based on Steven Carroll’s novel The Art of the Engine Driver.

Guy Pearce and Rosamund Pike will play a couple who attend a neighbour’s New Year’s Eve party in 1957, where buried secrets are revealed. German actor Sebastian Koch is cast as a private man whose East German heritage means he is suspected of being a Communist.

Charny is investing in and co-producing Hollow Point, a US thriller about two cops, male and female, who investigate the kidnapping of American heiress Patty Hearst and her subsequent involvement in a series of bank robberies. It’s the feature debut of Julie Richardson, a US producer whose credits include Collateral and the thrillers The Collector and The Collection. Frank Darabont is the executive producer.