Expatriate Australian Phillip Noyce is planning to do more filmmaking in his home country.

Two years after returning from Hollywood to make Rabbit-Proof Fence, Noyce has put together a team to adapt the novel Dirt Music by Tim Winton, with a possible starring role for Nicole Kidman.

According to local press reports, Noyce is quoted as saying "She loves the book; it's a perfect role for Nicole, and I'm developing it with that in mind."

Noyce's Rumbalara Films, which has a first look deal with Miramax, has signed a development and financing deal with Sydney-based Mushroom Pictures, best known for Chopper. Justin Monjo, who adapted Winton's Cloudstreet to the stage, has signed on as scriptwriter, working with script consultant John Collee.

Noyce, Rumbalara's US president Kathleen McLaughlin, Rumbalara Films Australia head Miranda Culley and Mushroom's owners Martin Fabinyi and Michael Gudinski will produce.

Dirt Music won this year's prestigious Miles Franklin Award for Australian literature and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It tells of a woman in an unsatisfying relationship in an isolated fishing town in Western Australia, whose encounter with a poacher and local hermit leads to an affair that dredges up secrets and changes each of their lives.

According to Culley, Monjo is also working on an adaptation of Robert Drew's novel The Drowner, The 33rd Parrallel for director Michael Jenkins, a new project for Cate Blanchett, and two projects for Miramax.

Most recently Collee adapted Patrick O'Brian's novel Master And Commander for another expatriate Australian director, Peter Weir.

Mushroom's other credits include Cut, Horseplay, which releases early next year, and Gettin' Square, which is about to wrap.

Noyce is currently in Australia hoping to pick up some AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards this Saturday night for Rabbit-Proof Fence, which has already won numerous audience awards around the world.

It has 10 nominations, more than any other film, and it's $4.1m (A$7.4m) gross is the highest of any local film this calendar year.. Miramax has just released both it and Noyce's later film The Quiet American in the US in the last fortnight.