Geoffrey Rush has signed on to lead the cast of Bran Nue Dae, which Bankside Films is selling here.

Fellow Australian actors Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins and Dan Sultan will also star in the feature adaptation of the popular Australian stage musical. Rachel Perkins co-writes and directs.

Principal photography started in Broome, Western Australia on October 31. A teen Aboriginal boy runs away from his religious boarding school, going on an epic journey across Australia where he meets other unusual travelers.

'I saw Bran Nue Dae on stage in Melbourne in the early 90s and yearned to be part of such theatrical vitality. The show was extremely funny, provocative and celebratory. It rocked! Now Rachel Perkins is going to make it into a kick-arse road movie and it's a dream come true to be invited to join this amazing cast and crew in Broome and Perth,' Rush said.

Bankside has international sales and Transmission has distribution rights for Australia/New Zealand.

Backers include Screen Australia, Omnilab, Australian Broadcasting Corporation,
Screenwest, Film Victoria and Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund.

Robyn Kershaw and Graeme Isaac produce. Executive producers are Christopher Mapp, Matthew Street, Jason Moody and David Whealy.

The Lord Of The Rings veteran Andrew Lesnie will serve as DoP. Choreography is by Stephen Page, artistic director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre.

Perkins, who previously directed Radiance and One Night The Moon, said: 'I feel at once terrified and exhilarated by the prospect of bringing Australia's first black musical to the screen. The play and its music have been loved by many people for 20 years and in adapting the work, I feel privileged to be collaborating with its creator, Jimmy Chi.'