The story of Rupert Murdoch’s rise to become the world’s biggest media mogul looks set to become an Australian movie.
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.
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