Cenozoic Pictures to bring Miles Franklin winner ‘Too Much Lip’ to screen

Melissa Lucashenko.

Melissa Lucashenko’s novel ‘Too Much Lip’, which won the Miles Franklin Award last night, is headed for screen – having been optioned in May this year by newly-formed production company Cenozoic Pictures.

Lucashenko is a multi-award-winning Goorie writer, a Walkley Award winner for her non-fiction, and a founding member of the prisoner’s human rights group, Sisters Inside. ‘Too Much Lip’ tracks the story of wisecracking Kerry Salter, a Bundjalung woman whose intention to return home for 24 hours to farewell her Pop becomes a life-changing stay as she confronts family, corruption, buried secrets and the possibility of love.

‘Too Much Lip’ was also shortlisted for the Stella Prize, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the Australian Book Industry Awards.

Filmmakers Veronica Gleeson, Luke Walker and Suzanne Walker founded the Melbourne-based Cenozoic Pictures last year, with an strong emphasis on providing writers with a creatively supportive environment. The company handpicks talent to support with a privately financed script development fund. Too Much Lip forms part of a slate the company plans to launch in the second half of 2019.

Gleeson (Below) is adapting the novel with Lucashenko as co-creator and co-writer. Gleeson is also writing a number of commissions for the BBC, produced by BAFTA winning UK company Duck Soup, and in Australia, she is dramatising Anne Deveson’s ‘Tell Me I’m Here.’

In a join statement, the team said: “Melissa Lucashenko is a luminous talent we have long admired. Her writing is urgent, funny, sharp and painfully vital. From the opening pages, Too Much Lip boasts an exciting cinematic fluency. It is a story that eviscerates as it reconciles; entertains as it provokes. We commend the Miles Franklin judges for their vision in bringing the book to the fore of Australian culture, and congratulate Melissa on this brilliant achievement. We could not be more thrilled with the opportunity to realise Too Much Lip to the screen. It is an extraordinary work of guts and power – one that should be shared broadly.”