James Cromwell.

Mark Lamprell’s Never Too Late (formerly The Chain Breakers), a comedy-drama about four heroic Vietnam veterans who plan to break out of their nursing home, will start shooting in South Australia on March 18.

Jack Thompson, James Cromwell, Dennis Waterman and Roy Billing play the quartet, who were famous for escaping from a Vietnamese POW camp.

Now residents of the Hogan Hills Retirement Home for Returned Veterans, each has an unrealised dream he wants to achieve before it’s too late. They devise a plan to escape but the rules of engagement have changed. Indeed, they can’t even remember what the rules were and that’s half the problem.

Jacki Weaver plays Norma, the long-lost love of Cromwell’s character Bronson, formerly a US soldier. They met when he was in Australia on R&R but he was posted back to Vietnam before he could propose. Norma’s husband had just died and Bronson is determined to put the Tiffany ring he had long kept on her finger.

Shane Jacobson is Bruce, the estranged son of Roy Billing’s Wendell. The casting director is Amanda Mitchell.

It is the first screenplay from crime novelist Luke Preston, who pitched the idea to producer Antony I. Ginnane at a ‘speed-dating’ session at the MIFF 37ºSouth Market five years ago.

“I loved the idea, optioned it a couple of weeks later and we have been developing it ever since,” Ginnane tells IF.

A couple of years ago Ginnane brought on board producer David Lightfoot, with whom he had collaborated on Bad Blood and the Turkey Shoot reboot. Lightfoot first worked with Cromwell as the location manager of Chris Noonan’s Babe.

“I’m delighted to be back making a film in South Australia and I’m thrilled to be returning with this truly stellar cast to make Never Too Late,” Ginnane said.

“I first came to Adelaide in 1980 for The Survivor and I’ve made another six films here since. It’s a wonderful place to film with terrific crews and locations.”

Explaining the change of title, he said: “Never Too Late is a softer and more romantic title, hitting both male and female senior demos.”

The investors include Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation. The international sales agent Myriad Pictures has pre-sold the film to China, Canada’s Pacific Northwest (which released Simon Baker’s Breath) and the Middle East’s Eagle Pictures. The Australian distributor is Richard Becker and Robert Slaviero’s R&R Films.

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  1. I loved this film. So true life it reminded me of my father in law, a Vietnam vet and hero. Anyone who bags out this movie probably has no connections to the themes. Funny, relatable and just a wonderful film to watch. Well done everyone who made it.

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