Geoffrey Rush headlines Bran Nue Dae cast

[Press Release by The Lantern Group]

Bran Nue Dae exploded onto the stage in a dynamic mix of colour, music, dance and the innocent joy of youth and charmed audiences all over Australia when it was produced as a musical in 1990. Now the feature film adaption is set to star some of Australia’s leading performers with Geoffrey Rush as Father Benedictus, Ernie Dingo as Tadpole, Missy Higgins as Annie, and Dan Sultan as Lester in this road movie, coming of age, comedy musical which celebrates the adventure
of finding home.

"…I saw Bran Nue Dae on stage in Melbourne in the early 90s and yearned to be part of such theatrical vitality. The show was extremely funny, provocative and celebratory. It rocked! Now Rachel Perkins is going to make it into a kick-arse road movie and it’s a dream come true to be invited to join this amazing cast and crew in Broome and Perth." said Geoffrey Rush today.

Director Rachel Perkins (Radiance, Once Night the Moon) will bring this magical Australian musical to the screen as we re- visit the summer of 1967 and the Bran Nue Dae that set toes of all colours tapping and softens even the hardest hearts.

Rachel Perkins whose multi-award winning films have screened at prestigious international film festivals is the co-writer and director; Academy Award winning Director of Photography Andrew Lesnie (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong); producers are Robyn Kershaw (Looking for Alibrandi) and Graeme Isaac (Dhakiyarr Vs The King); Stephen Page, artistic director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre is choreographer; Jimmy Chi and Kuckles creators of the stage musical Bran Nue Dae; executive producers are Christopher Mapp, Matthew Street, Jason Moody and David Whealy.

“I feel at once terrified and exhilarated by the prospect of bringing Australia’s first Black musical to the screen. The play and its music have been loved by many people for twenty years and in adapting the work, I feel privileged to be collaborating with its creator, Jimmy Chi,” said director, Rachel Perkins.

Academy Award winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie today commented; “Because movies can do good things, whenever I read a script I assess it on whether it makes the world a better place –and this certainly is one of them! I love the story, the theatre, the landscape and was captivated by the love story in Bran Nue Dae. I’ve never shot an Aboriginal musical comedy – it’s not a genre I’ve worked heavily in!"

For award winning Australian musician Missy Higgins her role in Bran Nue Dae will be her first foray into acting. "Broome holds a special place in my heart so this opportunity felt like something I just couldn’t pass up on. I fell in love with all the characters when I read the script, especially my character (Annie) who is a hilarious hippie. Being my first go at acting I’m a bit terrified but I feel very honored to be working alongside such an incredible cast and crew and I know it’s gonna be a lot of fun."

Bran Nue Dae is a Broome story through and through, from its original setting to its creator Jimmy Chi. It’s very exciting and fitting that the screen version is being filmed in Broome with such an exceptional cast and crew,” said Western
Australian Minister for Culture and the Arts, Hon John Day.

Bran Nue Dae will begin filming in Broome on October 31 followed by a shoot in Perth.

Bran Nue Dae is financed by Screen Australia, Omnilab, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screenwest, Film Victoria and Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund. ABC TV is proud to be associated with Bran Nue Dae.