Sewell pushes the envelope with erotic thriller

21 April, 2014 by Don Groves

Screenwriter and playwright Stephen Sewell makes his directing debut on Embedded, an erotic thriller which he promises will be hard-hitting and controversial.

Shooting started in Sydney on Monday on what is essentially a two-hander, set mostly in a suite at a five-star hotel. The plot follows a battle-weary Australian war correspondent named Frank, who meets a darkly fascinating woman on his way home.


The two retire to his hotel suite where Frank finds his match in a frightening and erotic game of truth or dare that takes both to the edge, and over.

Playing the couple are Los Angeles-based Aussies Nick Barkla (Blind Company, TV’s Rush) and Laura Gordon (Saw V, TV’s Twentysomething). Marcus Johnson plays the hotel porter.

The producer is Steve Jaggi (Circle of Lies) via his Indefatigable Pictures banner. Jaggi tells IF that Sewell intends to “push the envelope” with a film that sets out to be confronting and will be so steamy that an R rating is certain.

The privately-funded film will use the producer offset. Karla Urizar is the designer and Rhiannon Bannenberg is the DoP.

In common with much of Sewell’s work, Embedded will take a political stance, in this case railing against “the State’s intrusion into people’s personal lives,” said Jaggi.

The two-and-a-half-week shooting schedule fits in with Sewell’s availability as he is the chair of creative writing at NIDA.

Sewell wrote the screenplay of Rowan Woods’ gritty 1998 drama The Boys and Martin Murphy’s micro-budgeted 2003 horror movie Lost Things, and he was script editor on Andrew Dominik’s Chopper.

Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America , first published by Sewell in 2003, became the longest running theatre play in Australian history.

Sewell and Jaggi first started collaborating a couple of years ago on a bigger-budgeted film which proved hard to finance for a first-time director. So they put that project to one side while they focussed on the less costly Embedded.