First Option Pictures to adapt Kyle Perry’s ‘The Bluffs’ with Gemma Lee to direct

Director Gemma Lee.

First Option Pictures has optioned Kyle Perry’s debut novel The Bluffs for screen adaptation as a limited TV series, with Gemma Lee attached to produce and direct.

Set in the Tasmanian hinterland, the story involves a school group of teenage girls who go missing in the remote wilderness of the state’s Great Western Tiers, placing the people of Limestone Creek on alert. It’s not that long ago that a number of young girls were killed in the area of that dangerous escarpment, and local legends regarding ‘The Hungry Man’ still haunt locals to this day.

When the body of one of the girls is found mauled at the bottom of a cliff, suspicion turns to a wild animal – but that doesn’t explain why all victims, past and present, were discovered barefoot, their shoes placed neatly nearby, laces tied.

Published by Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand, The Bluffs has been translated into six languages (German, Czech, Dutch, Romanian, Estonian and Russian) and was shortlisted for the Dymocks Book of the Year and the Indie’s Debut Fiction Book of the Year, as well as longlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards ’General Fiction Book of the Year.

It was also a winner of the Dutch Thrillzone Awards in 2021 (Best Translated Thriller).

Talent manager Mark Morrissey, who founded First Option Pictures in 2020, will be the executive producer on the adaptation, while Piper Morrissey will be an associate producer.

The project is another step forward for Lee, who has previously helmed short films Heaven and The Wake, which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, where it was nominated for the Jury Prize.

Over the past decade, the VCA graduate has enjoyed a prolific career as a commercial director both in Australia and the US.

Having searched for a book to adapt for screen for “some time”, she said The Bluffs immediately captured her attention.

“In particular, I was looking for a contemporary noir with complex and intriguing female characters,” she said

“I became captivated by the story and Kyle’s atmospheric writing, which is so rich in detail and sparked my imagination.

“It already feels cinematic in nature and the characters are authentic, unique and flawed.

“The clever and unnerving plot kept me guessing to the very end.”

Perry said he was delighted to be working with First Option Pictures to bring The Bluffs to the screen.

“I wanted to write a book that could be adapted to different mediums, and find different audiences,” he said.

“That this is happening with my debut novel is amazing.”