Reiko Bradley from BeckerFilms International has picked up international rights on two unmade films,Australian mainstream teen comedy G'Day LA to be directed by veteran filmmaker Tom Jeffrey, and the edgy LoveJunkie by English-born US-basedindependent writer/director Ash.
Australian Idol contestantRobert Mills has been cast in G'Day LA in what is believed to be the first time in the world that the realitytelevision franchise has shoehorned someone into a major film role. Mills alsohad the dubious honour of being romantically linked with hotel chain heiressParis Hilton during her visit to Australia last year.
Mills and Ronen Stoliarplay two brothers who run a camel farm in the outback Australian town of AliceSprings. They are able to live their fantasy of going to LA when a US horse racingpersonality approaches them about buying the semen of one of their championcamels after mistakenly assuming that the race he hears about is a horse race.
"Australia is seenas the land of crocodiles, kangaroos and great white sharks but it also has thegreatest population of feral camels in the world," says RussellCunningham, who is producing alongside former Hoyts Cinemas executive AndrewPannell. "We even send camels to the Middle East."
Cunningham and US writerRick Shaw, whose credits include The Nanny, have written the script. Tom Jeffrey's credits as a director include TheOdd Angry Shot and Weekend OfShadows, back in the late 1970s, thesame era as college comedy Animal House, which Cunningham uses as an example of the "old-style episodiccomedy" he is aiming to replicate.
Bradley is well awarethat Australian filmmakers do not generally favour teen comedies and is excitedabout the commercial prospects for this one. She sees it as an Australianversion of such contemporary films as Dude, Where's My Car' and American Pie. The budget is expected to be about A$4 million andmost of the film will be shot in Australia. Becker's local distribution arm isthe obvious home for the film in Australia but this is still being discussed.
Love Junkie, destined for the arthouse arena, is a strange lovestory between a young street girl who works as a prostitute and the blind manwho, ironically, opens her eyes to the world. Discussions are underway withactor Rosario Dawson from hip director Ash's earlier film This Girl's Life, which is about a porn star.
This new film will be aconsiderable step up in budget terms for Ash, whose credits also include debutfilm Bang, the kids- and-guns-themedPup, and The Blind BastardsClub.