One of Australia’s most internationally recognised character actors, Hugo Weaving (The Lord Of The Rings, The Matrix), is to star in comedy The Mule, which recently went into production in Melbourne.

The film, about Australian drug running, is written by Leigh Whannell, one of the key people behind the Saw horror franchise, and Angus Sampson, who is producing with Jane Liscombe. It will mark the feature directing debut of Tony Mahony, who is acclaimed for his work on music videos for the likes of Nick Cave and Paul Kelly.

Cast and crew move to Bangkok in the last week of next month. Liscombe produced Cannes Palme d’Or short film winner Cracker Bag. Michele Bennett, the producer of Chopper and Drift which is in cinemas now, is attached as executive producer.

“Hugo Weaving is one of the world’s finest actors,” said Sampson. “Every syllable he utters quenches one’s aural thirst and to have the compelling John Noble alongside him is truly humbling. Tony Mahony’s taste and visual design is resonant and remarkable. Leigh and I are thrilled to be collaborating with such esteemed filmmakers both in front of and behind the lens.”

Worldwide rights are held by eOne Entertainment, while the company’s Australian arm, Hopscotch, will be releasing the film locally. Screen Australia, Film Victoria and post-production service company Deluxe are the other supporters of the film.

Coincidentally, Whannell and Sampson will be on screen together in Insidious: Chapter 2 which is being released on more than 3,000 screens in the US in September.