Main Street Films has committed to release Aussie writer-director Murali Thalluri’s post-Apocalyptic action adventure One on at least 600 screens in the US.

That’s a remarkably wide US release for the Adelaide-based filmmaker who has just one film to his credit, 2:37, a drama which chronicles a day in the lives of six high-school kids culminating in one’s suicide, which screened in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 2006.

Main Street Films is co-producing and co-financing the film which will star Blood Diamond’s Djimon Hounsou and Pitch Perfect’s Alexis Knapp.

“We have a guaranteed release of a minimum of 600 screens in the US, and have presold multiple key territories already, and we haven’t even shot the film yet. I’m pumped," Murali tells IF.

Pre-production is due to start in Johannesburg and Cape Town in September, the first film shot under the Australian-South African co-production treaty signed in 2011.

Greig Buckle of South Africa’s Enigma Pictures is co-producing with Thalluri’s MK Create and the Kojo Group’s Kent Smith. Main Street Films’ chairman Craig Chang and president Harrison Kordestani are the exec producers. Kathy Morgan International is handling international sales.

One is set in a post-apocalyptic world after a virus has wiped out 99% of humanity. The survivors form separate racial groups who fight each other to find a cure.

Knapp will play Ava, whose house is raided by Junaid soldiers, a group of racial minorities who have banded together. She is captured and sold to a medical research facility searching for a cure. It soon becomes evident that Ava is immune to the virus and is thus the world's only hope.

Hounsou is cast as Tunji, who is victimised by his own race after trying to help a white girl and forms a bond with Ava. Sammy Sheik (Lone Survivor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon) will portray General Aziz of the Junaid, the antagonist. More casting will be revealed soon. The DoP is by Lance Gewer, who shot the foreign-language Oscar winner Tsotsi.

Asked where he got the idea from, Thalluri says, “I was reading a book called Rena’s Promise, a holocaust story, and a friend said to me ‘Why do you always read that crap man?’ I said to him, ‘it’s our history, it makes us who we are…’

"His response was ‘It’ll never happen to us’, and I got so angry… and that was the seed of the idea. To show the privileged Western world, that when the veneer of civilisation wears off, humanity is never too far from a great future or a horrific future.

“In order to avoid a world like the one presented on the screen, we have to look back at our history, learn, and change. We’re running out of time.”


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