Ashley Zukerman and Talia Zucker.

Ashley Zukerman has returned to Australia to star in sci-fi In Vitro, directed by Will Howarth and Tom McKeith.

Cast opposite the Succession and The Lost Symbol star is Talia Zucker, who co-wrote the script with the directors.

Set in regional Australia of the near feature, on a remote cattle farm, In Vitro sees Zukerman and Zucker play a husband and wife who have been experimenting with biotechnology and developing new farming methods.

The couple live a mostly isolated existence, but when a series of unsettling occurrences take place, they soon discover a disturbing presence on the farm that threatens to upend their lives.

Howarth also stars in the project, which has just wrapped production in regional NSW across Cooma and Goulburn. Post will take place in Orange, where it is expected to create 127 local jobs.  

McKeith and Howarth wrote the 2015 Philippines-set boxing drama Beast together, which McKeith directed with his brother, Sam. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where it was nominated for Best First Feature.

In Vitro was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab in 2016. Zucker and Howarth met in Los Angeles where they both moved after being nominated for the Heath Ledger Scholarship.

The film is produced by Arcadia, who boarded the project after last year’s MIFF 37ºSouth Market and Fictious, Howarth’s production and talent management outfit with partner Matilda Comers.

Arcadia’s Lisa Shaunessy and Bec Janek produce alongside Howarth for Fictious and Rachael Fung.

Comers, Zukerman, Alexandra Burke, Anna Dadic, Michael Agar and Clement Dunn serve as executive producers. Screen Australia has provided major production funding, with support from Screen NSW, Mind the Gap, Fictious, and Arcadia.

“Our goal with In Vitro is to create a bold sci-fi with compelling characters that expresses something important about the times we live in,” said Howarth and McKeith in a joint statement.

“We’re so excited to be working on this project with such a great team and are thrilled to be supported by Screen Australia, Screen NSW, and the Sundance Institute.”

Arcadia’s Shaunessy said: “In Vitro is a dark love story that sent chills down my spine the first time I read it. Teaming with Will and Matilda at Fictious; and with Tom, Talia and Ashley rounding out the dynamic creative team alongside Arcadia – it’s exciting to be collaborating with such experienced and talented storytellers. Combined with the incredible locations like the majestic Snowy-Monaro and our super talented heads of department, we really look forward to bringing In Vitro to the screen.”

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