Teenage Australian model Maddison Brown makes her acting debut in Strangerland, the Kim Farrant-directed mystery drama which has started shooting in Sydney.

Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes play a couple whose lives unravel after their two teenage children go missing in the Australian desert. Hugo Weaving plays the cop who leads the investigation.

Brown and Nicholas Hamilton (Mako: Island of Secrets) play the missing kids. Lisa Flanagan (The Gods of Wheat Street, Redfern Now) portrays an Indigenous woman who is having an affair with Weaving's character and Meyne Wyatt (The Sapphires, Redfern Now) is a handyman who works for the couple.

Fiona Seres and Michael Kinirons wrote the screenplay. The producers are Dragonfly Pictures’ Naomi Wenck and Fastnet Films’ Macdara Kelleher. An Australian/Irish co-production, it’s the first feature directed by Farrant, whose credits include TV’s Rush and the documentary Naked on the Inside.

Kidman said, “I am always looking for the right script to bring me home to Australia. The moment I read Strangerland I knew this was a film I couldn't say no to. I'm looking forward to working on a film in Australia and I’m very excited to be working with Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving."

Fiennes took over from Guy Pearce, who dropped out for scheduling reasons. The film will later location in Broken Hill and Canowindra.

Transmission Films is the Australian/NZ distributor and Wild Bunch has international rights. Worldview Entertainment is financing and executive producing with Screen Australia, Screen NSW and the Irish Film Board as co-investors.

Transmission’s Andrew Mackie said, “It is thrilling to have Nicole Kidman appearing in her first independent film to be shot here since Dead Calm and to have such fine actors as Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes also taking central roles. Attracting such an A-list cast is a testament to the film’s gripping and beautifully written script, the creative vision of our director Kim Farrant and the passion and determination of producers Naomi Wenck and Macdara Kelleher.”

The producers signed a deal with the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance, hailed by the union as the first ‘greenfields’ production agreement which sets out working conditions and wages well in advance of pre-production, thus avoiding the need to go through a bargaining process.

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