Turkey Shoot Reloaded set to roll

Dominic Purcell, Viva Bianca and Robert Taylor are set to star in Turkey Shoot Reloaded, an action adventure set in the near future.

The director is Jon Hewitt (X, Acolytes, Bloodlust), who co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, actress-writer Belinda McClory, with whom he collaborated on X and Acolytes.

Hewitt tells IF the film is in the spirit of Brian Trenchard-Smith’s 1982 cult item Turkey Shoot but is not a reboot. “I loved Turkey Shoot but I did not want to remake it," he says. "This is a complete reinvention.”

Principal photography starts in Melbourne on February 5. The Post Lounge is handling the visual effects and investing in the film. The producer is Antony I. Ginnane, who produced Turkey Shoot, with David Lightfoot as line producer and Lizzette Atkins as associate producer. Trenchard-Smith is an executive producer.

Turkey Shoot (also known outside Australia as Escape 2000 and Blood Camp Thatcher) followed a bunch of deviants held at a rehabilitation fortress who are forced to take part in a game of survival in the hopes of returning to society. It starred Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig, Carmen Duncan and Noel Ferrier.

Hewitt’s film features Purcell (TV’s Point Break, Killer Elite, Bad Karma) as Rick Tyler, a disgraced Navy SEAL who is interned in a military prison for a crime he thinks he committed. Tyler is forced to take part in a deadly game of survival telecast by a TV network and discovers the truth about his past, which leads to redemption.

Liam McIntyre of TVs Spartacus: War of the Damned was originally cast as the lead but dropped out due to a conflict in scheduling.

Bianca, whose credits include Spartacus, X and John V. Soto’s thriller The Reckoning, plays a helicopter pilot SEAL who gets mixed up with Tyler.

Taylor, now well known in the US as the star of TV’s Longmire, is cast as a former Marine and sniper. McClory portrays the network executive who is the executive producer of the survival game.

Potential is the Australian distributor and international sales are being handled by Richard Guardian.

Hewitt says, “I am making a primal, straight-ahead action film for multiplexes." He is delighted to have Trenchard-Smith’s blessing and input, noting, “I have been pinching ideas from him for 15 years.”

The director worked with The Post Lounge’s Steve Cooper on Acolytes. He says, “I am not a huge fan of CGI. I will use it to sweeten things, not to create an artistic landscape.”

He says his film is very different from The Hunger Games franchise, likening the tone to that of The Running Man, the 1987 sci-fi actioner which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a wrongly convicted man who runs a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show.