Snowtown director Justin Kurzel and screenwriter Shaun Grant are collaborating on an Australian bushranger feature.
Grant is writing True History of the Kelly Gang, adapted from the Peter Carey novel, a co-production between Porchlight’s Liz Watts and the UK's Daybreak Pictures.
The novel is seen through Kelly’s eyes, scribbling his narrative on scraps of paper in semi-literate but descriptive prose as he fled from the police.
To his pursuers, Kelly was a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To many ordinary Australians, the bushranger was a hero, defying the authority of the English to control their lives.
Joe Penhall was listed as the writer when the project received development funding from Screen Australia.
Heath Ledger played the bushranger in Gregor Jordan's Ned Kelly in 2003 and Mick Jagger starred in Tony Richardson's Ned Kelly in 1970. The first screen version was The Story of the Kelly Gang in 1906.
Bushrangers may be back in vogue as shooting has just wrapped on writer-director Matthew Holmes’ The Legend of Ben Hall, which stars Callan McAuliffe, Andy McPhee, Arthur Angel, John Orcsik and newcomer Jack Martin as the leader of the gang which pulled off the largest gold heist in the British Empire.
Grant wrote the screenplay of Berlin Syndrome, which will star Teresa Palmer as Claire, an Australian photographer who meets a Berliner named Andi (Max Riemelt), while travelling in Berlin. What starts out as a passionate holiday romance turns ugly when he locks her in his apartment.
Directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Aquarius Films’ Polly Staniford and Angie Fielder, the thriller will shoot later this year in Berlin and Australia.
Kurzel’s Macbeth, which stars Michael Fassbender as the Scottish lord and Marion Cotillard as his ambitious wife, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was lavishly praised by the critics. Transmission will release in Australia in October.
He’s attached to direct an adaptation of the Ubisoft video game series Assassin's Creed, which will again star Fassbender and Cotillard. The plot follows a bartender who is descended from a long line of assassins, is captured by a secretive organisation and sent back in time to access his ancestors’ memories and collect ancient artifacts.