Rachel Ward to direct An Accidental Soldier for ABC TV

Rachel Ward is set to direct a new tele-movie for ABC TV. An Accidental Soldier, produced by Kylie du Fresne, producer of The Sapphires, and The Tree’s Sue Taylor, tells the story of a baker in the ANZAC services corps who makes an extraordinary decision and finds an unexpected love. The film will star Ward’s husband and actor Bryan Brown as well as French actress Marie Bunel and Dan Spielman.

The announcement:

Straight off the back of a triumphant opening week, The Sapphires producer Kylie du Fresne (The Sapphires, Lockie Leonard) is creating another surprising, untold story of Australians at war for ABC TV. The telemovie An Accidental Soldier, which Kylie will produce with Sue Taylor (The Tree, 3 Acts of Murder) begins filming in Perth on Monday 3 September.

Director, Rachel Ward (The Straits, Rake, My Place, Beautiful Kate) has assembled a stellar international cast.  French actress Marie Bunel stars alongside Dan Spielman (Offspring, Darwin’s Brave New World).  Supporting actors include Australian film and television legend Bryan Brown (The Good Wife, Breaker Morant) and Julia Zemiro (Lowdown, Conspiracy 365).

Marie Bunel is best known to Australian audiences for her performances in The Chorus and the final films of Claude Chabrol, Bellamy and The Girl Cut in Two.  She has also played leading roles in many other major television series, mini-series and telemovies in France.

An Accidental Soldier is based on the book Silent Parts by John Charalambous and research into the stories of Australian soldiers in Normandy during WWI.   It follows the wartime story of a baker in the ANZAC service corps who makes an extraordinary decision and finds an unexpected love.

Writer Blake Ayshford (The Straits, Crownies) has crafted an emotional and unusual story of love and war.

ABC TV, Head of Fiction, Carole Sklan said, “A moving and ultimately uplifting story of love that crosses language and cultures in a time of catastrophe.  An Accidental Soldier tells a very different story about wartime courage and humanity.”

Producer Kylie du Fresne said, “It’s not the first time Goalpost Pictures and Taylor Media have found a French connection. Our companies had a happy and successful working relationship on the Cannes Film Festival-selected film The Tree which Sue produced and Goalpost’s Rosemary Blight executive produced. So we are delighted to come together again as producers of An Accidental Soldier, a highly original story, which we will bring to the screen with some of Australia’s best creative talent, including director Rachel Ward.”

The telemovie was developed and financed under the Primetime Television Production Fund between ABC Television and ScreenWest.

ScreenWest CEO Ian Booth said the telemovie would provide strong opportunities for WA practitioners.

“It will be filmed entirely in Western Australia providing WA practitioners with an opportunity to work with an outstanding cast and crew on a project that will screen in primetime for the ABC,” he said.

Source: ABC TV press release

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