UK-based Australian actress Emma Hamilton and The Gods of Wheat Street’s Mark Coles Smith have joined the cast of Last Cab to Darwin, Jeremy Sims’ road movie drama about a man who is told he doesn’t have long to live and embarks on an epic drive from Broken Hill to Darwin to die on his own terms.
On his journey he discovers that before you can end your life you have to live it and to live it, you have to share it.
Shooting is due to start in Broken Hill in early May, with Greg Duffy and Lisa Duff producing and Michael Caton in the lead.
Reg Cribb (Bran Nue Dae, Last Train to Freo) and Jeremy Sims wrote the screenplay, which was inspired by the cases of Max Bell and Bob Dent. Bell was a terminally ill cab driver who drove 3,000 km from his home in Broken Hill to Darwin in the early 1990s in hopes of taking advantage of the Northern Territory's voluntary euthanasia laws. Dent was the first Australian to die from a legal, voluntary lethal injection in the Northern Territory in 1996.
Caton will play a character named Rex, a Broken Hill taxi driver. Ningali Lawford-Wolf (Bran Nue Day, Rabbit Proof Fence) has been cast as Polly, an Aboriginal woman who is Rex’s next door neighbour and occasional lover, a role written specifically for her. Jacki Weaver is set to play a doctor who ministers to Rex.
Hamilton, who played Queen Anne for two seasons of The Tudors and now works for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the National Theatre in London, will play an English backpacker who has given up nursing. After meeting Rex she is inspired to return to her profession.
Coles Smith will portray a young Aboriginal man from Oodnadatta, whose life has gone off the rails. He’s befriended by Rex and joins him on the journey.
Mark first worked with Sims on Beneath Hill 60. He appears in Sarah Spillane’s Around the Block and had a recurring role in Hard Rock Medical, a Canadian drama series which follows a diverse group of students as they embark on a four-year adventure in the most unusual medical school in the world; that series will air here on NITV.
Reg Cribb has been nominated twice for AFI awards for his screenplays for Bran Nue Dae and Last Train to Freo, the latter directed by Sims and produced by Duffy and Duff.
Icon Film Distribution is attached as the Australian distributor and the international rights will be handled by Paris-based Films Distribution and Berlin-based Films Boutique.
Ed Kuepper will write the soundtrack music, working with Mark Beckhaus and his team at Nylon Studios.
Steve Arnold (Disgrace) is the DP. Clayton Jauncey (Beneath Hill 60, Kill Me Three Times) is the production designer. Steve Andrews (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Bourne Legacy) is first AD and Marcus D’Arcy (I, Frankenstein, Tomorrow, When the War Began) will cut the film.