Irish funnyman Chris O’Dowd, best known as Roy on hilarious British comedy The IT Crowd, will star in upcoming Aussie musical feature The Sapphires.
O’Dowd, who can still be seen in Judd Apatow's latest comedy Bridesmaids (which has taken $26 million at the local box office), will play Dave – an Irish roustabout who “sees the light” through for young Aboriginal women.
“I couldn’t be happier. The stars have aligned to make it possible for Chris to be part of The Sapphires,” director Wayne Blair said in a statement.
“I’ve been a big fan of Chris’ since The IT Crowd and, of course, in Bridesmaids. He's been very generous with his enthusiasm and support for our story and I feel fortunate him being part of our already talented team.”
O’Dowd rose to fame on The IT Crowd in 2006, starring alongside Katherine Parkinson (Jen) and Richard Ayoade (‘Moss’) – whose first directorial feature Submarine comes out on September 8 through Madman.
The comedian and actor will join Deborah Mailman – the first Aboriginal actress to win the AFI Award for Best Actress, who has appeared in such projects as Rabbit-Proof Fence and Offspring – and 2006 Australian Idol runner-up Jessica Mauboy on the upcoming film. Mailman and Mauboy will be reunited after working on 2009 musical Bran Nue Dae.
NIDA graduates Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell will also appear in the film – which is an adaptation of the hugely successful Australian stage musical of the same name.
Set in the heady days of 1968, the film is inspired by a remarkable true story. Four talented singers, from a remote Aboriginal mission, are discovered by an unlikely talent scout (O’Dowd). Plucked from obscurity and branded as Australia’s answer to The Supremes, The Sapphires grasp the chance of a lifetime when they’re offered their first real gig – entertaining the troops in Vietnam. For the girls, a whole new world of sex, war, politics and soul opens before them.
Produced by Goalpost Pictures Australia’s Rosemary Blight and Kylie du Fresne, the film will be distributed locally by Hopscotch Films.
Supported by Screen Australia, Screen NSW, the Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund and E-Film Australia, The Sapphires begins filming later this month on the Murray River, in Sydney and then Vietnam.