Simon Stone to direct first full-length feature

15 July, 2014 by Don Groves

Casting is underway for The Daughter, a movie which theatre director Simon Stone is adapting from his radical re-imagining of Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck.

Producers Jan Chapman and Nicole O’Donohue are collaborating with Stone, who made his screen debut directing Robyn Nevin, Richard Roxburgh and Cate Blanchett in a segment of Tim Winton’s The Turning.

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Shooting is due to start in September. Screen NSW funded development of the project. Scripted by Stone and Chris Ryan "after Ibsen," the stage production of his 1884 play is set in contemporary rural Australia.

The Belvoir production had rave reviews, typified by Fairfax Media’s Cameron Woodhead who said, “Go see this production of The Wild Duck. Theatre of such delicacy and distillation is vanishingly rare. The ensemble performance is magnificent, the writing effortlessly overheard, the design possesses a chiselled power, and the direction confirms Simon Stone as one of our most vivid and nuanced interpreters for the stage.”

The synopsis, according to Screen NSW’s website, reads, “Oliver Finch lives a quiet life with his father, his wife, his daughter and a duck. When his old friend Christian Neilson returns home after 16 years absence, he unearths a long kept family secret that threatens to shatter Oliver’s world.

“A contemporary portrait of family dysfunction, deception and denial, The Daughter is a potent drama about return. The return to the site of trauma, the return to memories you wish you’d never created, the return to truth in all its consequences.”

Ewen Leslie and Anita Hegh played the couple on stage, with Anthony Phelan as the father and Eloise Mignon as their daughter. Stone’s play was staged successfully at the International Ibsen Festival in Oslo in 2012 and at the Vienna Festival (Wiener Festwochen) and the Holland Festival in 2013.
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Woodhead’s review concluded, “Stone's The Wild Duck is a work of terrible immediacy, intimate humour and towering emotion, right up to its final, surprising moments (a masterclass in tragic catharsis, and a glimpse at the comet's tail of grief that follows the ice and rock of disaster). See this show, see it, but don't forget to bring the Kleenex. It will pierce you to the core.”

Chapman was an EP on Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook and Leon Ford’s Griff the Invisible. According to IMDB.com her last producing credit was Jane Campion’s Bright Star in 2009.

O’Donohue produced Gracie Otto’s documentary The Last Impresario and Griff the Invisible and was line producer on Rhys Graham’s Galore.

Director Henri Safran shot a conventional film of The Wild Duck in 1984, starring Liv Ullmann, Jeremy Irons, John Meillon, Arthur Dignam and Lucinda Jones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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