Screenwriter Michael Petroni set to write/direct Australian feature

Australian screenwriter Michael Petroni is returning home in November to start work on a new project that he will also direct.

Petroni has been heavily involved in Hollywood the past few years, penning such projects as fantasy/adventure film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (for Fox-Walden) and exorcism flick The Rite (for Warner Bros.). Other writing credits include Queen of the Damned, Afterlife, and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys.

Business partner Jamie Hilton, of See Pictures, confirmed the move, adding Petroni was looking forward to writing something for himself. He says the screenwriter will continue to split his time between Los Angeles and Sydney.

“Michael is a very busy studio writer, working on priority projects for several studios at the moment," says Hilton, who produced last year’s The Waiting City.

"He is also a director – having a vehicle in Australia to be able to produce the movies he directs is a growing priority."

Hilton, who executive produced Cannes controversial film Sleeping Beauty, will co-produce and if the project gets up through their banner See Pictures, it will be shot in Australia in late-2012.

The “hush-hush” project will mark Petroni’s return to the director’s chair for a feature since 2002’s Till Human Voices Wake Us, which starred Guy Pearce and Helena Bonham Carter. He also directed a Masters of Science Fiction TV episode in 2007.