Travis Fimmel (second from right) on the 'Boy Swallows Universe' set.
Travis Fimmel, Simon Baker, Phoebe Tonkin, Bryan Brown, and Anthony LaPaglia will bring Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe to life for Netflix, with production on the eight-part series now underway in Brisbane.
The streamer’s adaptation of the semi-autobiographical book was announced in March, with John Collee penning the scripts and Troy Lum and Andrew Mason of Brouhaha executive producing alongside Blue-Tongue Films’ Joel Edgerton, Chapter One’s Sophie Gardiner, Anonymous Content’s Kerry Roberts, and Toby Bently.
At the centre of the story is Eli Bell (Felix Cameron), a young boy growing up in Brisbane during the 1980s that is forced to navigate his lost father Robert Bell (Baker), mute brother Augustus Bell (Lee Tiger Halley), junkie mum Frances Bell (Tonkin), heroin dealer stepfather Lyle Orlik (Fimmel), and a notorious crim babysitter Arthur “Slim” Halliday (Bryan Brown).
Other cast include LaPaglia as Tytus Broz, Sophie Wilde as Caitlyn Spies, Christopher James Baker as Ivan Kroll, HaiHa Le as Bich Dang, Deborah Mailman as Poppy Birkbeck, Ben O’Toole as Teddy, and Zachary Wan as Darren Dang.
Millie Donaldson and Eloise Rothfield will play the roles of 17 and 13-year-old Shelley Huffman, respectively.
Directing the limited series are Bharat Nalluri, Jocelyn Moorhouse, and Kim Mordaunt.
The creative team also includes DOP Shelly Farthing-Dawe, production designer Michelle McGahey, costume designer Kerry Thompson, hair and makeup designer Angela Conte, and casting director Nikki Barrett. Jamie Pearson, Mark Perry, and Marcus D’Arcy will edit the series.
Boy Swallows Universe is supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy.
Screen Queensland and Netflix Grow Creative have also partnered to create a number of attachment roles on Boy Swallows Universe, providing opportunities for emerging crew to gain on-the-job experience.
Speaking back in July, Dalton said it was a logical next step to take Boy Swallows Universe to the screen, using Brisbane locations and local crew.
“It just makes sense,” he said.
“This adaptation to the screen couldn’t happen anywhere else, and I am proud to be part of this exciting adventure on my home turf.
“Boy Swallows Universe is my very deep and personal love letter to my city of Brisbane.
“I’m so incredibly honoured to know the Queensland Government and Screen Queensland are helping us mail that letter around the world.”