Top: Kitty Green, Julia Garner (Photo: FrazerHarrison, Wikimedia Commons). Bottom: Jessica Henwick (Photo: Matt Berberi), Hugo Weaving (Photo: Shanahan Management)

Director Kitty Green re-teams with her The Assistant star Julia Garner for thriller The Royal Hotel, following two best friends backpacking through the Australian outback.

Knives Out 2 star Jessica Henwick and Hugo Weaving have also been cast in the Saw-Saw Films feature, to be produced by Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Liz Watts together with Scarlett Pictures’ Kath Shelper.

Garner and Henwick play best friends Hanna and Liv. After they run out of money, Liv, looking for an adventure, convinces Hanna to take a temporary live-in job behind the bar of a pub called ‘‘The Royal Hotel’ in a remote Outback mining town.

Bar Owner Billy (Weaving) and a host of locals give the girls a riotous introduction to Down Under drinking culture but things turn nasty when their jokes and behaviour cross the line. Soon Hanna and Liv find themselves trapped in an unnerving situation that grows rapidly out of their control.

Green co-wrote the script with Oscar Redding, with the shoot expected to begin in Australia in the coming months.

The film is inspired by 2017 observational documentary Hotel Coolgardie from filmmaker Pete Gleeson, which followed two Finnish backpackers who worked behind the bar in the remote West Australian mining town of Coolgardie, where it rapidly became clear they were expected to do more than poor drinks.

HanWay Films will handle international sales and distribution for The Royal Hotel in partnership with Cross City Films, See-Saw’s in-house sales arm. UTA Independent Film Group and Cross City Films are co-repping the US sale.

CORRECTION: This story originally reported that The Royal Hotel was not inspired by Hotel Coolgardie.

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