ACTOR Sam Claflin — star of The Hunger Games movies, last year’s hit romance Me Before You and upcoming British comedy Their Finest — says his introduction to Australia was “honest to god, the most crazy first week in any place I’ve ever been”.
The 30-year-old Englishman is in Hobart to shoot The Nightingale, director Jennifer Kent’s follow up to The Babadook, the horror film that made the Aussie hot property internationally. Claflin landed in Sydney at the start of March, stepping straight into the colour and buzz of Mardi Gras. “Very unexpected,” the actor told News Corp Australia with a chuckle.
After three days, he decamped to Canberra where an Outward Bound guide took Claflin and a couple of his Nightingale castmates into the bush for a team-building exercise. It also doubled as preparation for the film, which is set in the 1820s and sees Claflin’s character pursued through the Tasmanian wilderness by a young, female Irish convict who is seeking revenge for the brutal murder of her family.
Writer-director Kent has said while not a horror film, The Nightingale will be “horrific”. Claflin describes it as “quite a dark film” and “very compelling and authentic”. The Londoner said of his introduction to the bush: “I never felt like my life was in danger, so it wasn’t fully like this film. It was a way for us to get used to the outdoors and some of the terrain that we’d be working in. But we were obviously very well looked after and were wearing contemporary clothes as opposed to 1820s boots.
Nightingale, director Jennifer Kent’s follow-up to the cult sensation Babadook, is moving forward with both financing and a cast.
Nightingale is set in Tasmania in 1825, and follows a 21-year-old Irish convict who witnesses the brutal murder of her husband and baby by her soldier master, and takes justice into her own hands, finding an Aboriginal male tracker to enter the wilderness with her to seek revenge.
The Fall‘s Aisling Franciosi will star in the thriller, along with Hunger Games grad Sam Claflin. Damon Herriman, Ewen Leslie and Harry Greenwood will also star, with Aboriginal Djuki Mala, dancer Baykali Ganambarr and East Arnhem Land indigenous model Magnolia Maymuru rounding out the cast.
Bron Creative will produce and co-finance the thriller, with Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories. Nightingalewill mark the first production for Made Up Stories since Papandrea parted ways with Pacific Standard, a banner that she started with actress Reese Witherspoon.
Screen Australia, Screen Tasmania and the South Australian Film Corporation are also financing.
Babadook producer Kristina Ceyton will produce the new feature, along with Papandrea. Aaron L. Gilbert, Andy Pollack, Jason Cloth and Brenda Gilbert will executive produce for Bron, with Ben Browning and Alison Cohen executive producing for FilmNation and Steve Hutensky exec producing for Made Up Stories.
Nightingale has already been sold for Australia and New Zealand to Transmission Films. WME is handling US rights, with FilmNation handling international.