Eric Bana and Robert Connolly are set to reunite on a new feature adaptation, this time taking on Tim Winton’s Blueback.
Fresh from the success of The Dry, which is approaching $20 million at the box office, Connolly has begun filming for his latest project in Western Australia, assembling a similarly strong cast.
Mia Wasikowska will play main character Abby alongside newcomers Ariel Donoghue and Ilsa Fogg, who will portray the younger Abby.
They are joined by Radha Mitchell, Liz Alexander, Clarence Ryan, Pedrea Jackson, Erik Thomson and Bana.
Set on the coast of WA, the story centres on Abby, a child who befriends a magnificent wild groper while diving.
When Abby realises that the fish is under threat, she must take on poachers to save her friend.
Writer-director Connolly produces under his Arenamedia banner, together with Liz Kearney and James Grandison.
Blueback has received investment from Screen Australia, in association with Screenwest, Lotterywest, the Western Australian Regional Film Fund (WARFF), Film Victoria and Soundfirm.
The production will film across the Great Southern region and Ningaloo Reef, highlighting the marine ecosystem of the World Heritage Site.
Having previously worked with Winton on the 2013 adaption of The Turning, Connolly said Blueback could not be more timely.
“It’s fantastic to be working with Tim Winton again on an iconic Australian story, with such a talented cast of actors, and filming in an extraordinary part of the world,” he said.
“The story of Blueback is a beautiful tale of life, love, belonging, and with the fragility of our oceans and sea life as an underlying thread.”
To bring the Blueback character to life, the production will use a specialised team of underwater camera operators, who have worked features and documentary series such as The Blue Planet.
The film will also feature animatronic puppetry created by Creature Technology Company (King Kong: Alive on Broadway and arena show Walking with Dinosaurs) with further CGI from Soundfirm (Peter Rabbit, Paper Planes).
Roadshow Films will distribute in Australia. International sales handled by HanWay Films.