Rupert Murdoch set to be next Aussie media mogul to get Howzat treatment
Screen Australia has provided funding development for the work which is being written by Bob Ellis and Stephen Ramsay.
The announcement comes days after Southern Star’s production of Howzat, the story of how Australian media mogul Kerry Packer took on the cricket establishment delivered the Nine Network with 2m+ ratings.
The film has the working title of The News of the World.
The British Sunday tabloid the movie is named after was closed by Murdoch last year in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
Bob Ellis wrote the Australian journalism drama Newsfront, while Stephen Ramsey wrote and directed The Baby Boomers Picture Show and in the 1980s co-wrote mini-series True Believers with Ellis.
Ellis told Mumbrella: “What we have done starts at 1960 with his early career when he bought the Daily Telegraph off Packer and then to when he bought News of the World and how he burst on the world of America and became a friend of Nixon and got a license as a foreigner media owner.”
With legal cases still underway over the phone hacking, Ellis told Mumbrella the conclusion was still unwritten.
Ellis said, although nothing was locked in, his first preference for the lead would be New Zealand actor Marton Csokas, of South Solitary, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Dead Europe and the forthcoming Noah, with Russell Crowe.
Ellis said the team was also working on a 14-part miniseries to follow.
Also to receive funding from Screen Australia, are two projects from Snowtown screenwriter Shaun Grant. The first called Berlin Syndrome, is a psychological thriller with producer Polly Staniford and EP Angie Fielder. The second is Jasper Jones, a coming of age story based on Craig Silvey’s novel.
Defiant, directed by Bill Bennett and produced by Anupam Sharma and Bennett with Toni Collette to star also received another round of funding.
Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, producing partners behind The King’s Speech and forthcoming Tracks are behind a new production Los Alamos with writer Luke Davies, who wrote Candy, also produced by Sherman and Canning and starring Heath Ledger.
Producer Michael McMahon
Writer Katherine Thomson
Director Tony Ayres
Synopsis Five actresses compete for the role of a lifetime – an ensemble comedy about women, friendship and competition.
Genre Psychological Thriller
Producer Polly Staniford
Executive Producer Angie Fielder
Writer Shaun Grant
Synopsis A passionate holiday romance leads to an obsessive relationship when an Australian photojournalist wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave.
THE CANARY COTTAGE
Genre Black Comedy
Producer Luke Graham
Executive Producer Jonathan Page
Writer/Director Heath Davis
Synopsis A broken young man learns to live and love again when he moves into his mother’s nursing home.
Producers Naomi Wenck, Kristina Ceyton
Writer Nam Le
Synopsis A teenage assassin living in the slums of Columbia finds himself ordered to do a hit on his best friend. Choosing between loyalty to his friend, and the loyalty required of him by a merciless drug lord, Juan Pablo is a normal boy caught up in a ruthless world. Based on the best-selling novel by Nam Le.
Producers Bill Bennett, Anupam Sharma
Writer/Director Bill Bennett
Synopsis Two young lovers from different castes in India are marked for honour killings. Based on true events.
Producers Brian Rosen, Su Armstrong
Writer Joan Sauers
Synopsis The true story of mercurial classical violist, Richard Goldner, who escapes Nazi-occupied Austria to settle in Australia where he’s faced with a different kind of tyranny before discovering his true calling and forming Musica Viva. Based on the book by Suzanne Baker.
GIN & TONIC
Genre Comedy Drama
Producers Leah Churchill-Brown, Amanda Higgs
Writer Alice Bell
Director Hattie Dalton
Synopsis A baby is abandoned on 14-year-old Ashlee’s doorstep, shining light on her broken family and her secret teenage life.
Genre Coming of Age
Producers Vincent Sheehan
Writer Shaun Grant
Synopsis Based on the award-winning Australian novel by Craig Silvey.
LITTLE FUR: THE LEGEND BEGINS
Writer/Producer Trish Graham
Executive Producer Matt Carroll
Synopsis Little Fur is the story of how even a small creature – an elf-troll, no larger than a 4-year-old child – is able to find the courage to overcome her fears, to understand that there is good and bad in all of us, and decides to become a hero.
Producers Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
Writer Luke Davies
Synopsis Spring, 1945. Michael Connolly, a disgraced intelligence operative, enters a labyrinth of secrets and espionage when he arrives at the high-security military base of Los Alamos. Sent to investigate a seemingly open-and-shut murder case, Connolly is thrown into the heart of the Manhattan Project and must navigate a path through military protocol, political intrigue and personal agendas in order to uncover the truth in the most secretive place in the world.
Genre True Crime
Director/Producer Marion Pilowsky
Writer Lee Sellars
Synopsis A rookie detective, a killer on the loose and a mother who never gave up hope. Based on a true story.
Executive Producer Matthew Dabner
Writer Emma Jensen
Synopsis A young woman with a family legacy and a passion for writing goes on a quest to find a story which results in the groundbreaking novel Frankenstein. However, Mary learns that creativity and love can come at a high price when she embarks on a passionate and tumultuous love affair with the poet Percy Shelley.
Producers Sue Murray, Richard Lowenstein
Executive Producer Domenico Procacci
Writer/Director Richard Lowenstein
Synopsis At the height of his internationally renowned career, a sudden blow to the head robs the famously sensual rock star of two of his most cherished senses. A series of personal battles follows ending tragically with his death at the age of 37, the night before embarking on a world tour.
THE NEWS OF THE WORLD
Writers Stephen Ramsey, Bob Ellis
AN ODDBALL SOLUTION
Producers Steve Kearney, Richard Keddie
Writer Peter Ivan
Producers Heather Ogilvie, Mark Gooder
Writer Jan Sardi
Synopsis Together, one woman’s gift and another’s determination result in one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 19th century. A revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship, based on the acclaimed novel by Tracey Chevalier.
Genre Crime Drama
Producers Tait Brady, Craig Monahan
Writers David Williamson, Craig Monahan
Director Craig Monahan
Synopsis A blackly comic exposé of unequal social relationships and abuse of authority – now and then. A reimagining of the iconic Australian play by David Williamson.
Producer Timothy White
Writer Susie Brooks-Smith
Director Robert Connolly
Synopsis Scully takes his young daughter, Billie, across Europe on a search for his missing wife. Based on the acclaimed novel by Tim Winton.
Genre Coming of Age
Producer Tom M Jeffrey
Writer Lachlan Philpott
Synopsis Teens Tamara and Squid are in love, but their fragile relationship is broken by a betrayal of trust that puts their futures at risk.
SON OF A GUN
Producer Timothy White
Writer/Director Julius Avery
Script Editor John Collee
Synopsis A young man is sent to prison where he becomes the perfect apprentice to ‘public enemy number one’, beating him at his own game.
Genre Romantic Comedy
Producer Phillip Bowman
Writer Dave Warner
Synopsis Dylan Gilbert, a back room guy dreaming of becoming a glamorous stock picker realises that one of his firm’s small-time clients has an amazing success rate and by copying their picks he can achieve his dream, but when Client 68745, Holly York, falls in love her picks begin to tank! Dylan decides he must break up the love match if he is to achieve his goal.
SINGLE-PROJECT DEVELOPMENT: FEATURE MATCHED FUNDING
THE DEVIL’S STAIRCASE
Producer Marian Macgowan
UK Producer Claire Mundell
Writer Sergio Casci
Director Ben C Lucas
Synopsis An 18-year-old girl runs away from small-town Australia to London, hoping to overcome her justifiable yet incapacitating fear of death by moving into an abandoned London townhouse with several young travellers, but she discovers before long that death seems to have followed her.
Producer Ranko Markovic
Executive Producer Piers Morgan
Writers Oscar Redding, Jonathan auf der Heide
Director Jeremy Sims
Synopsis A group of young Western travellers are traversing the Silk Road when a land slide leaves them stranded without their vehicles. As they search for the destroyed 4x4s they discover a cave that’s being used as an Al-Qaeda training ground. The soldiers aren’t there, but plans for a new international terrorist plot and a dirty bomb are.
TALENT ESCLATOR PROGRAMS: INDUSTRY INTERNSHIPS
MA’ARA BOBBY ROMIA INTERNSHIP
Producer Ma’ara Bobby Romia
Synopsis Ma’ara will work with Screentime Group in New Zealand for six months across all facets of television concept development, writing and producing, production, post-production and marketing/distribution strategies.
ARIEL MARTIN-MERRELLS INTERNSHIP
Director Ariel Martin-Merrells
Synopsis Ariel will work under the mentorship of director James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, Fear, Perfect Stranger) in Los Angeles for five months during post-production on House of Cards and collaborate in the development of two upcoming feature films projects Winter Hill Gang and Recoil.
TALENT ESCLATOR PROGRAMS: SHORTS PROGRAMS: DIRECTOR’S ACCLAIM FUND
PATRICK SARELL & ALISTER LOCKHART ACCLAIM FUND
Writer/Directors Patrick Sarell, Alister Lockhart