×

Kieran Darcy-Smith to helm ‘Helena’

Mandeville Films producing Matt Cook's Black List script

Aussie helmer Kieran Darcy-Smith, whose feature directorial debut “Wish You Were Here” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, is attached to direct Matt Cook’s 2009 Black List script “By Way of Helena.”

Mandeville Films toppers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are set to produce the period pic, which is set in Helena, Texas.

Story follows a Texas Ranger and his Mexican bride who are sent to investigate a mysterious frontier town where multiple Mexican bodies keep washing up on the riverbank. What they discover is an idyllic community where everything is not as it seems.

Violent indie project is currently in development and not set up at a studio, let alone at family-friendly Disney, where Mandeville has a first-look deal.

Variety critic John Anderson described Darcy-Smith’s “Wish You Were Here” as an “incandescent feature debut” that featured “taut construction, deft acting and a gift for keeping auds off balance.” Helmer co-wrote the psychological thriller with his wife Felicity Price, who also stars alongside Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer. Entertainment One acquired North American distribution rights in January and announced it would release the pic stateside this fall, though there is no firm release date in place.

Popular on Variety

Darcy-Smith started his career in front of the camera, appearing on the hit Oz series “Home and Away” before landing a role in Screen Gems’ 2005 creature feature “The Cave.” He went on to co-star in David Michod’s “Animal Kingdom” and Nash Edgerton’s “The Square,” and is also expected to direct a segment of “Sydney Unplugged,” a series of short films designed to serve as a love letter to Australia’s largest city.

In addition to “Helena,” Cook also wrote “Triple Nine,” a crime drama that director John Hillcoat (“Lawless”) is developing for Annapurna Pictures.

Darcy-Smith, who is a member of the famed Aussie collective Blue-Tongue Films, is repped by WME, Magnolia Entertainment, HLA Management and attorney Robert S. Wallerstein. Cook is repped by WME and Anonymous Content.

More Film

  • Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, and Peter

    Amazon Studios Buys 'Uncle Frank' Out of Sundance (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon Studios has bought “Uncle Frank,” an acclaimed drama about a closeted gay man forced to come out to his Southern family in the 1970s. The film debuted this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival. UTA Independent Film Group brokered the deal. Amazon had no immediate comment. Alan Ball, the writer of “American Beauty” and [...]

  • Ironbark

    Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate Nab Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Ironbark' Out of Sundance

    North American rights to Benedict Cumberbatch’s civilian spy thriller “Ironbark” have been acquired by Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate out of the Sundance film festival, insiders close to the deal told Variety. Roadside, the specialty label currently behind current Oscar contender “Judy,” and partial owner Lionsgate emerged out of a competitive, days-long bidding process and won [...]

  • Roberto Cicutto President Cinecitta Luce Arrives

    Roberto Cicutto, Former Cinecittà Chief, to Head Venice Biennale

    Roberto Cicutto, the veteran Italian film producer of Ermanno Olmi’s 1988 Venice Golden Lion winner “The Legend of the Holy Drinker” and more recently head of Italy’s Luce-Cinecittà which runs the iconic studios has been appointed president of the Venice Biennale, parent organization of the Venice Film Festival. Cicutto, 71, a Venice native, will replace [...]

  • Deepika Padukone and Rishi Kapoor

    Deepika Padukone and Rishi Kapoor to Star in Bollywood Remake of ‘The Intern’

    Warner Bros., Azure Entertainment and Ka Productions will co-produce a Hindi-language remake of Nancy Meyers’ 2015 hit “The Intern.” Iconic Indian actors Deepika Padukone (“Chhapaak”) and Rishi Kapoor (“The Body”) will play the roles enacted by Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro respectively in the original. A director for the still untitled adaptation will be [...]

  • A man walks past a closed

    China Box Office Wiped Out as Government Expands Virus Response Measures

    Measures to limit travel and the closure of most cinemas almost completely eliminated box office takings in China on what should have been the country’s busiest movie-going weekend of the year. The pain is set to continue. The Chinese government extended the current public holidays by an additional three days as a means to slow the [...]

  • "The Iron Lady," "Shame" Writer Abi

    'The Iron Lady,' 'Suffragette' Writer Abi Morgan Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis

    “The Iron Lady” and “Shame” writer Abi Morgan has revealed she is battling breast cancer. The 51-year-old British writer shared news of her diagnosis during a screening of the second season premiere of BBC One and Sundance TV drama “The Split,” which is produced by “Chernobyl” outfit Sister Pictures and Little Chick. Highlighting that it [...]

  • Amanda Kernell

    Sweden’s Amanda Kernell on Sundance World Premiere ‘Charter’

    “Charter,” Swedish director-writer Amanda Kernell’s eagerly anticipated second feature after the multi-prize-winning “Sámi Blood,” world premieres in Sundance and moves on to Göteborg and the Dragon competition for best Nordic film. What inspired “Charter?” It’s a personal story, as are all my films.  I come from a family with generations of divorced parents actually. So, I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content