Killer role for Luke Ford
Luke Ford and emerging talents Vanessa Moltzen, Emily Gruhl, Tim Grimes and Charlotte Hazzard have been cast in The Body in the Yard, a drama which starts shooting in Sydney next month.
Writer-director-producer Stephen Wallace tells IF he got the idea after reading a newspaper story in the late 1980s or early 1990s about a Sydney man who murdered his wife, buried her in the backyard and continued living in the house with his girlfriend.
That is one of several parallel and inter-connected storylines which, says Wallace, deal with relationships and emotional and physical violence. He wrote the first draft 15 years ago but concluded it was too bleak and set out to soften the tone in rewrites.
The project was with several producers but securing the finance proved elusive so he decided to produce it himself and raised the funds from private investors.
Ford, who appears in Rolf de Heer’s Charlie’s Country and in director Shane Abbess’ sci-fi thriller Infini, will play Brett, the wife killer. Hazzard, whose credits include Packed to the Rafters and the ABC’s upcoming drama Anzac Girls, is cast as Brett’s wife. Moltzen will portray his girlfriend.
QUT graduate Gruhl and WAPA graduate Grimes will play another couple. Justin Holborow is cast as Doug, a young guy who has messed up his life. Singer/songwriter Bonnie Ferguson will make her film debut as Doug’s girlfriend.
Wallace credits casting director Faith Martin with unearthing Moltzen, Gruhl and Grimes.
As a director, this is Wallace’s first film since Turtle Beach, a 1992 thriller that starred Greta Scacchi, Joan Chen and Jack Thompson.
In the interim he spent five years as senior project manager with the Australian Film Commission, taught acting at Screenwise and directed 14 plays, mostly for schools, and numerous TV series.
The four-and-a-half week shoot is due to start on August 28. The director of Stir, Blood Oath and For Love Alone sees two advantages in working on a low budget: “You get a lot of freedom, and you don’t get a lot of terrible financial pressure.”
Wallace says there is interest from a French-based sales agent so he is considering launching the film in France before looking for a deal in Australia.