Toby Wallace will star alongside Julia Garner, Jessica Henwick and Hugo Weaving in Kitty Green thriller The Royal Hotel, with production now underway in South Australia.
Garner and Henwick play two best friends, Hanna and Liv respectively, backpacking through the Australian outback. After they run out of money, Liv, looking for an adventure, convinces Hanna to take a temporary live-in job behind the bar of a pub called ‘‘The Royal Hotel’ in a remote Outback mining town.
Bar Owner Billy (Weaving) and a host of locals give the girls a riotous introduction to Down Under drinking culture but things turn nasty when their jokes and behaviour cross the line. Soon Hanna and Liv find themselves trapped in an unnerving situation that grows rapidly out of their control.
Wallace will play the character Matty, a charming local who befriends Hanna and Liv.
The Royal Hotel is inspired by 2017 observational documentary Hotel Coolgardie from filmmaker Pete Gleeson, which followed two Finnish backpackers who worked behind the bar in the remote West Australian mining town of Coolgardie.
The Royal Hotel marks Green’s first feature to shoot in Australia. The Melbourne-born director’s previous work includes The Assistant, which also starred Garner, and documentaries Casting JonBenet and Ukraine is not a Brothel.
A See-Saw Films production, the film is produced by Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Liz Watts with Scarlett Pictures’ Kath Shelper. Green co-wrote the script with Oscar Redding.
“We are thrilled to have Toby Wallace join such a brilliant cast led by the inimitable Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick,” said Watts.
“Shooting has kicked off in the stunning landscapes of South Australia, and The Royal Hotel is well underway to be an undeniably gripping film under Kitty Green’s distinctive direction.”
The cinematographer is long-standing Green collaborator Michael Latham; production designer Leah Popple, who worked on Casting JonBenet; costume designer Mariot Kerr and hair and makeup designer Jen Rossiter. Casting is by Kirsty McGregor of McGregor Casting.
The Royal Hotel will shoot across outback South Australia and in Adelaide Studios, expected to create 225 local jobs and inject $4.6 million into the state economy. Major production investment comes via Screen Australia in association with the South Australian Film Corporation.
The project is See-Saw Films’ third to shoot in the SA in recent years following Thomas M Wright’s The Stranger, selected for Cannes Un Certain Regard and currently screening at Melbourne International Film Festival, and AMC+ series Firebite, created by Warwick Thornton and Brendan Fletcher.
South Australian Minister for The Arts Andrea Michaels said: “This highly anticipated new thriller will be an international showcase of South Australia’s remarkable Outback locations, the capability of our Adelaide Studios production facilities and our exceptional screen talent – exporting South Australian knowledge and creativity to the world.
“I commend the SAFC for securing this exciting feature film for South Australia, cementing our state’s international reputation as a world class location for premium screen production.”
HanWay Films will handle international sales and distribution for The Royal Hotel in partnership with Cross City Films, See-Saw’s in-house sales arm. The film has already sold to Neon for the US.
Transmission Films has ANZ distribution rights.
Toby Wallace is represented by Catherine Poulton Management, CAA, 3 Arts and Sloane Offer.