Geoffrey Rush to Star in Screen Australia-Backed ‘Daughter’

HONG KONG — Oscar-winning actor, Geoffrey Rush will star in “The Daughter,” a drama that marks the feature film debut of noted Australian stage director Simon Stone.

Rush (“Shine,” “The King’s Speech”) will appear with Ewen Leslie (“The Railwayman,” “Dead Europe,” “Sleeping Beauty”) in the picture, to be produced by Jan Chapman (“The Piano,” “Lantana”) and Nicole O’Donohue. The story follows a man who returns home to discover a long-buried family secret, and whose attempts to put things right threaten the lives of those he left home years before. “The Daughter” will be distributed in Australia by Roadshow Films and overseas by Mongrel International.

Stone previously directed Leslie in Aleksei Arbuzov’s stage-play “The Promise.” Stone is director in residence at Sydney’s Belvoir St. Theatre.

The film is one of a dozen feature and TV drama projects to share A$12 million (US$11.5 million) of production and completion funding in the latest finance round from federal support agency Screen Australia.

Others receiving funding include: “The Blinky Bill Movie,” an animated feature about an iconic koala bear, voiced by Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood”) and produced by Greenpatch Productions; and Josh Lawson’s “The Little Death,” a feature about the secret sex lives of five Australian couples. Local distribution is through Hopscotch / eOne Entertainment and international sales by Denmark’s LevelK.

On the TV side is six-part “Secret City,” an espionage series adapted from “The Marmalade Files” and “The Mandarin Code” novels by Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann. The action follows a journalist who uncovers a ‘cold war’ battle between the U.S. and China taking place on the streets of Australia’s seemingly quiet capital city Canberra. To be broadcast by Foxtel, the series is executive produced by Penny Chapman and produced by Matchbox Productions with overseas sales handled by Universal Media Studios International.

The series was given the blessing of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at an event on Wednesday. Production is expected to begin in July 2015.

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