Caitlin Stasey, Lou Taylor Pucci join ‘Devil Inside’

Caitlin Stasey and Lou Taylor Pucci.

Fresh from her role in Smile, Caitlin Stasey has signed on for a local horror, Jonathan auf der Heide’s Devil Inside, alongside US star Lou Taylor Pucci (Thumbsucker, Personal Velocity) and the previously attached Ryan Kwanten.

Billed as an elevated thriller/horror in the vein of 28 Days Later and It Comes the Night, the film explores the ‘What if?’ question of cross-species contagion – in this case from a Tasmanian Devil, the last of the marsupial carnivores.

Now in pre-production ahead of a shoot in Tasmania, Stasey will play the role of Eva, a young virologist, who helps the local park ranger (Kwanten) research the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease – a contagious cancer that has wiped out nearly 90 per cent of the population. But when her husband, Alex (Pucci), is bitten by a sickly stray dog, Eva suspects the virus has mutated across species and is causing violent outbursts in the hosts. Infection soon spreads through the locals and Eva must choose between saving the man she loves or the rest of humanity.

“Fiercely intelligent and passionate, Caitlin is exactly who I want leading the charge against an apocalyptic rage virus,” said auf der Heide.

“Lou is the ultimate chameleon who brings a great depth of sensitivity to the film. Caitlin, Lou and alongside the magnetic Ryan Kwanten, I have my dream cast.”

Devil Inside marks auf der Heide’s second feature as a director following on from 2009’s Van Diemen’s Land; he also directed a segment of 2014’s The Turning. He wrote the script with Tom Holloway. David Ngo and Erin Williams-Weir of Projector Films produce.

Kwanten has been on board the project going back to 2019, when Rachael Taylor was also attached to star.

The project is financed with support from Screen Tasmania, which put $280,000 towards the film via its Screen Innovation Fund, private equity and the Producer Offset.

Odin’s Eye Entertainment (OEE), who has been shopping the film since Cannes, is handling worldwide sales. OEE founder and CEO Michael Favelle also serves as an executive producer alongside Katie Found, Bryce Menzies and Clement Dunn.

Devil Inside was developed with the assistance of Screen Australia and Screen Tasmania. It is slated for delivery in Q4 2023.

ANZ distribution is in discussion.