Mark Coles Smith, Brenton Thwaites added to the bodies for Zak Hilditch’s ‘We Bury the Dead’

Mark Coles Smith (Image: Gareth Cattermole) and Brenton Thwaites (Image: Jasin Boland).

Marks Coles Smith and Brenton Thwaites have joined Daisy Ridley in the cast of Zak Hilditch’s We Bury the Dead, as filming on the survival thriller gets underway in Western Australia.

Ridley plays Ava, a desperate woman whose husband is missing in the aftermath of a catastrophic military experiment. Hoping to find him alive, Ava joins a ‘body retrieval unit’, but her search takes a chilling turn when the corpses she’s burying start showing signs of life.

Written by Hilditch, the film is being produced by Kelvin Munro and Grant Sputore of WA production company The Penguin Empire, alongside Hilditch’s frequent collaborator Ross Dinerstein of Campfire Studios in the US. Gramercy Park’s Joshua Harris and Mark Fasano are also producing, while Nathan Klingher and Ford Corbett serve as executive producers, alongside Umbrella Entertainment’s Ari Harrison and Jeff Harrison.

Zak Hilditch (Image: Nic Duncan)

The project, which was announced in November last year, is backed by major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Screenwest, Lotterywest, and the WA Regional Screen Fund, along with financial support from Gramercy Park Media. NEON and UTA Independent Film Group are managing international sales and Umbrella Entertainment will distribute the film theatrically in Australia and New Zealand.

Hilditch was excited to begin the five-week shoot, which will take place across Albany and the Great Southern Region.

“The local community has opened their doors – literally and metaphorically –  to welcome us and our incredible cast,” he said.

“With Daisy and now Brenton and Mark, we’ve got an incredible roster of talent to bring this story to life.” 

Thwaites comes into the project having just finished filming Nick Waterman’s Binge feature How to Make Gravy, while Smith is shooting Netflix series Apple Cider Vinegar.

Screen Australia content director Grainne Brunsdon said they formed part of a “stellar ensemble cast”.

“To have the talented Daisy Ridley, Brenton Thwaites, and Mark Coles Smith bring this film to life, combined with the visionary direction of Zak Hilditch is incredibly exciting,” she said.

“Screen Australia is proud to back productions like We Bury the Dead, which will showcase our local talent – both in front and behind the camera – right around the globe.”

Screenwest CEO Rikki Lea Bestall said 2024 was shaping up to be a huge year for scripted production in WA, adding the agency looked forward to seeing the “talented, hardworking WA creatives and crew deliver this exciting thriller to audiences worldwide”.

“Congratulations to the We Bury the Dead team on kicking off production in the beautiful Great Southern region,” she said.