Jillian Nguyen, Sam Neill, Anna Torv lead voice cast of ‘Scarygirl’


A bumper line-up of Australian talent, including Jillian Nguyen, Sam Neill and Anna Torv, will lend their voices to upcoming animated feature film, Scarygirl.

The fantasy story, to be produced out of Queensland, is also set to feature contributions from Rob Collins, Deb Mailman Remy Hii, Mark Coles Smith, Liv Hewson, and 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott, as well as the previously announced Tim Minchin.

Based on characters from the vinyl toy range and Nathan Jurevicius’ wordless graphic novel, Scarygirl follows Arkie (Nguyen), a young girl with a talent for technology and a tentacle-like arm, who was raised in secret by her kind but cautious father, Blister (Collins), a rare Giant Octopus with the ability to regenerate life.

When her father is kidnapped for his prized abilities and their idyllic world is threatened by a sudden loss of sunlight, Arkie sets out on a journey to the City of Light: a dazzling, modern city controlled by the mysterious Dr Maybee (Neill).

As she tries to find Blister, Arkie discovers that all is not what it seems and this incredible new world is one of great danger, and full of answers to questions she never knew she had.

In the years since the characters were first introduced, they have appeared in a flash game that attracted 1.4 million players in the first eight months of release, paving the way for a free roam global VR experience that was picked up by Zero Latency and is currently playable in over 18 countries and 33 locations worldwide.

Passion Pictures offshoot Highly Spirited is developing the feature film project in partnership with Like A Photon Creative (LAPC) and Screen Queensland.

Jurevicius serves as creator and production designer on a team that also includes executive producer John Stevenson, producer Sophie Byrne, director Ricard Cussó, and co-director Tania Vincent, as well as Like A Photon creative producers, Kristen Souvlis, Nadine Bates, and Ryan Greaves, with animation production services coming from Brisbane-based Cosmic Dino Studio.

Eclectik Vision’s Brett Thornquest and Steven Matusko are co-producers and Alceon Entertainment Partners are financers. CAA Media Finance is representing the North American domestic sale, while Scarygirl will be distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment.

Last year, Screen Queensland announced it would be supporting the title via its PDV incentive.

Byrne said the film had been a collaborative project that’s “carefully built a universe in numerous mediums”.

“Nathan and I are more than excited that the feature film is in production with the dynamic and inspiring team at Like A Photon Creative in Queensland – who share our passion for this unique and visually stunning world.

“We are equally thrilled that the project has attracted a gifted and diverse ensemble cast, who have lent their exceptional voice talents to bring our distinctive array of characters to life.”

Like A Photon Creative co-founder Kristen Souvlis said the company’s interest stemmed from the “meticulously crafted world” of Scarygirl.

“Like A Photon Creative is thrilled to be partnering with powerhouse producer Sophie Byrne to bring the extraordinary work of Nathan Jurevicius to the big screen,” he said.

“Sophie and Nathan’s labour of love is complemented by our experience in creating character-driven 3D feature films, and we are honoured to be a part of this global, Australian-created property.”

Scarygirl is set for delivery in June 2023.