Screenwriter/producer Stuart Beattie’s illustrious career is in overdrive, with multiple projects bubbling in the US, Australia and Germany.
Some 28 years after the Aussie moved to LA, he is cashing in on his hard-earned reputation and extensive network of creative contacts.
One Australian-based project is a biopic about speed skater Steven Bradbury, who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to win Australia’s first ever Olympic Winter Games Gold Medal.
The other is Interceptor, an action thriller to be directed by LA-based Australian novelist Matthew Reilly.
His US-based slate includes Rain, a 10-part drama based on a series of books by Barry Eisler about the exploits of a Japanese-American contract killer named John Rain.
Beattie is writing the bible and pilot and executive producing for Bedrock Entertainment, a new production banner founded by director Daniel Sackheim (True Detective, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Americans) and producer Tony To (From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, The Pacific) in partnership with ITV Studios America.
Sackheim will direct the pilot, which sees Rain falling for the daughter of his latest victim. Much of the dialogue will be in Japanese.
The German-set project is The Man with the Poison Gun, which Beattie is adapting from a novel by Serhii Plokhy. Based on a true story, the film is set in 1961 and follows KGB assassin Bogdan Stashinsky, who defected to West Germany. After spilling his secrets to the CIA, Stashinsky was put on trial in what would be the most publicized assassination case of the entire Cold War.
Wolfgang Petersen’s company will produce and Warner Bros. will handle the international distribution of the German-language thriller.
On the Bradbury film he will re-team with his Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan collaborators, director Kriv Stenders and Deeper Water Pictures’ John and Michael Schwarz.
Four-time Olympian Bradbury will serve as a consultant. He won the 1,000 metres Gold Medal in 2002 two years after a second life-threatening injury incurred in competition, when he fractured his C4 and C5 vertebrae after tripping headfirst into the barriers over a skater who had fallen in front of him.
Bradbury spent a month and a half in a halo brace and needed four pins to be inserted in his skull and screws and plates bolted into his back and chest.
Interceptor is a spec script by Reilly, who has written more than a dozen novels and novellas including Contest, Ice Station, Temple, Area 7, Scarecrow, Hover Car Racer, Hell Island, Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors. Beattie is co-writing the screenplay and will produce.
Besides writing, Beattie, Shaun Grant, Jason Smilovic, Kai Wuand Sarah Heyward are mentoring 14 emerging creators in Impact Australia, the offshoot of US Imagine Impact founded by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Tyler Mitchell.
Supported by Gentle Giant Media Group and Screen Australia, the inaugural accelerator program for creative storytellers from across Australia is being held online.
Beattie is mentoring Brendan Fletcher and Devi Telfer’s feature Taronga, adapted from the novel by Victor Kelleher, a post-Apocalyptic saga which follows survivors who are kept by a gang at Taronga Zoo, protected by tigers and other predators.
“I enjoy passing on the things I’ve learned to other storytellers. Brendan and Devi are a fantastic writing team and I’m excited to share their powerful adaptation of Taronga, which has the potential to become a massive worldwide hit,” he says.
After directing and writing Tomorrow, When the War Began and I, Frankenstein, he put a pause on directing – “a 24/7 job” to focus on writing and raising his sons. Now that his sons are older he is keen to direct again.
“I was fortunate that I knew at a very young age what I wanted to do with my life,” he reflects. “Over the years, I’ve had a lot of extraordinary experiences working with some of the best storytellers in the world.
“I feel like we’re in a place now where stories are more important than ever and I’m honoured to play a part in sharing those stories.”