Aussie playwright Stephen Sewell to make directorial debut

An Australian playwright and author will direct his first feature film, based on one of his own books.

Sydney-based production company Jaggi.Shute has acquired the rights to Stephen Sewell’s script Babylon, an adaptation of his book of the same name, with the writer signing on to direct as well.

The film will be produced by Steve Jaggi and Liz Shute, to be executive produced by Academy Award winner Bruce Beresford as well as Janine Pearce of The Reef and co-produced by Marc Van Buuren.

Sewell said: “Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of seeing some fantastic actors bring my characters to life on the stage and screen. The opportunity to take the reins as Director and work closely with the actors to mould my characters is a writer’s dream come true.”

Shute and Jaggi are currently in funding talks with various state agencies.

Shute said: “Stephen is one of Australia’s most prolific playwrights and his ability to create complex and charismatic characters on the page will only delight audiences and serve him well in is foray into directing.”

Jaggi said: “We are thrilled to be working with someone of Stephen’s calibre and are excited to steer him on his new journey as director.”

A synopsis of Babylon from the press release reads:

Mick heads to the north of Australia for sun, women, and a shot at making a fortune working the shrimp trawlers. While looking for adventure, Mick hitches a ride with the enigmatic Dan who leads him into more trouble and depravity than even the most reckless traveler could stomach.

As the pair speed through the apocalyptic landscape—in a spiral of escalating violence—Dan reveals the world as seen through his eyes, and Mick’s true nature is exposed. A game of psychological cat-and-mouse, this is the gripping tale of two men—one struggling to become then definition of a “man,” and the other plotting to make his cruelest intentions a reality.

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