Cate Blanchett to star in and produce Warwick Thornton’s ‘The New Boy’

Cate Blanchett and Warwick Thornton.

Cate Blanchett will produce and star in writer-director Warwick Thornton’s next feature, set to begin shooting in South Australia later this year.

Set in 1940s Australia, The New Boy depicts the mesmeric story of a nine-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery run by a renegade nun (Blanchett). The New Boy’s presence disturbs the delicately balanced world in this story of spiritual struggle and the cost of survival.

The cast also includes Deborah Mailman and Wayne Blair.

Blanchett, Andrew Upton, and Georgie Pym will be producing for Dirty Films, while Kath Shelper will produce for Scarlett Pictures.

The film was developed by Scarlett Pictures with the assistance of Screen Australia’s First Nations Department, and production is expected to begin in October.

Roadshow Films will distribute in Australia and New Zealand, CAA Media Finance and UTA will handle sales for North America, and The Veterans is on board to manage sales other international sales.

Blanchett said she was pleased to have the opportunity to work with Thornton.

“What a joy to finally be collaborating with Warwick – a filmmaker whose warmth, wit and humanity we have admired for so very long,” she said.

“We can’t wait to be on the ground with him and the wonderful Kath Shelper to realise this startling story.”

The New Boy marks a return to feature film for Thornton, who is coming into the project on the back of vampire fantasy series Firebite, which he created, directed, and wrote with Brendan Fletcher, docuseries The Beach and directing the second season of Mystery Road.

He is known for directing 2017’s Sweet Country, for which he won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival and the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival; and writing and directing 2009’s Samson and Delilah, for which he won the Caméra d’Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

He said the idea for The New Boy had been “flickering” in his imagination for a long time.

“Kath and I are beyond excited to be working with Cate and the Dirty Films mob to put him up on the big screen where he belongs,” he said.