Ryan Corr, Lily Whiteley hop to it in the NT as Kate Woods’ ‘Kangaroo’ begins production

'Kangaroo' has begun production in the Northern Territory.

Ryan Corr and newcomer Lily Whiteley have joined a troop full of joeys in the Northern Territory for Kate Woods’ family comedy Kangaroo, which has commenced filming.

The House of the Dragon star takes on the role of ex-TV personality Chris Masterman, who becomes stranded in an Outback town after a car accident on his way to Broome. There, he teams up with 11-year-old Indigenous girl Charlie (Whiteley). The pair form an unlikely friendship and work together to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned joeys in the remote but stunning Outback community. An endeavour that proves to be life-changing for them both.

Corr and Whiteley lead a bumper Australian cast that includes Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair, Trisha Morton-Thomas, Rachel House, Brooke Satchwell, Ernie Dingo, Genevieve Lemon, Clarence Ryan, Rarriwuy Hick, Rick Donald, Emily Taheny, Bondi Lifeguard Ryan Clark, and Australian TV presenter Grant Denyer. A troop of kangaroo joeys, currently in the care of the Alice Springs Kangaroo Sanctuary, will also make their feature film debut.

Set and filmed on location in Alice Springs, on Arrernte Country, where the real Kangaroo Sanctuary is based, the production will also shoot at Sydney’s Bondi Beach on the traditional land and waters of the Bidjigal, Birrabirragal and Gadigal Peoples.

Chris Barns (‘Brolga’), on whom ‘Kangaroo’ will be based.

The first project to be produced under Studiocanal’s local production arm, Cultivator Films Australia, Kangaroo is written by Harry Cripps with additional writing from Melina Marchetta, and further material from Danielle MacLean and Peta-Lee ColeManolis.

Bunya Productions’ David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin produce alongside Rachel Clements and Morton-Thomas, of Brindle Films, with Louise Smith and Marian Macgowan executive producers alongside Studiocanal’s Anna Marsh, Ron Halpern, Elizabeth Trotman, and Marcus Gillezeau.

Rounding out the creative team are DOP Kieran Fowler, production designer Sam Hobbs, costume designer Edie Kurzer, editor Chris Plummer, and casting director Anousha Zarkesh. Warren H Williams is cultural liaison and also a cultural advisor along with Benedict Stevens and Marie Ellis.

Having been in development since 2022, Kangaroo has received production funding via Screen Australia, Screen Territory, and Screen NSW via the Made in NSW fund. This includes $1.2 million towards the production from the Northern Territory Government through Screen Territory’s Production Attraction Incentive Program.

Trotman said the project was the culmination of “years of behind-the-scenes work by many and the beginning of an exciting chapter for the company”.

“With cameras rolling in the Australian Outback the cast and crew will come together, each bringing their unique talents and perspectives,” she said.

“Joining the home of Paddington Bear and hundreds of other extraordinary films made by Studiocanal worldwide, Kangaroo and all of the people associated with it, is sure to leave an indelible mark on the landscape of cinema.”

In a statement, the producers paid tribute to The Kangaroo Sanctuary founder Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns, on whom the story is based.

“Brolga’s story inspired our film, and we welcome him and his wife Tahnee to the crew, along with their loveable rescue joeys, currently in the Sanctuary’s care,” they said.

“Their outstanding work in wildlife rehabilitation is an inspiration to us all.”