Cast to go for Broke in Oz gambling drama

26 May, 2014 by Don Groves

Steve Le Marquand, Max Cullen, Claire van der Boom and Brendan Cowell head the cast of Broke, an Australian drama about a washed up, former rugby league star who battles a gambling addiction.

The feature debut of writer-director Heath Davis, the film is due to roll in Gladstone, central Queensland, on June 16.

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Le Marquand will play the protagonist Ben “BK” Kelly, who tackles his demons and strives to win back the respect of his community with the help of an ageing railway worker (Cullen) and his single parent daughter (van der Boom).

Cowell will portray a fellow gambling addict. Also cast are William Zappa as a bookmaker, Steve Bastoni as a cop and Justin Rozniak as a villain.

Producer Luke Graham raised more than $40,000 on crowd-funding site Indiegogo and the balance of the budget from private investors and a contribution from the NRL as part of an NRL gambling awareness campaign to be launched next year.

Davis made the short films Bee Sting, Bella, Spoon Man and Rabbit, and The Jezabels Live at the Hordern DVD.  He and the producer began developing the idea for the film while Graham was visiting his father Mark, a former captain of the New Zealand rugby team, who lives in the town, a league stronghold.

"It’s an intimate tale of redemption, compassion and forgiveness,” says Davis, a league fan who grew up in Sydney’s Western Suburbs and based the lead character on an amalgam of people he knew directly or indirectly.

Graham says the town is enthusiastically supporting the project and he aims to build awareness on social media. Executive producer Jonathan Page plans to screen the film on the international festival circuit to build a critical buzz before negotiating with distributors for the theatrical, home video and VoD.

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