Zac Efron has joined survival thriller “Gold,” an original film out of Australian streamer Stan.

Shopped to buyers at next week’s American Film Market (AFM), the film turns on two strangers traveling through a desert who stumble upon the biggest gold nugget ever found. When dreams of unimaginable wealth take hold, they devise a plan to protect and excavate their bounty with one man leaving to secure the necessary equipment.

Efron (“The Greatest Showman,” “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile”) plays the man left behind, who comes up against unforgiving desert elements, ravenous wild dogs and mysterious intruders, all while wondering whether his partner is ever going to come back for him. Principal photography on the movie will begin in Australia this month — where film and TV production has been able to continue relatively unscathed during the COVID-19 crisis.

London-headquartered Altitude Film Sales will co-represent domestic sales on the film with CAA Media Finance. “Gold” will be released in Australian cinemas through distributor Madman Entertainment prior to screening on Stan, the Nine Entertainment-backed domestic SVOD behind drama originals “No Activity,” “The Other Guy,” “Wolf Creek” and “Romper Stomper.”

Award-winning Australian actor and filmmaker Anthony Hayes (“Animal Kingdom”, “The Light Between Oceans”) will direct and co-star, based on a screenplay he co-wrote with Polly Smyth.

“This is an exciting, gripping and timely tale about greed, humanity, who we are, what we’ve done to the world and where we are heading if we aren’t careful,” said Hayes. “To have Zac Efron as my main man on this film is an absolute gift and to see what he is creating already is like nothing we’ve seen from him before. I can’t wait to deliver this bold, visceral and cinematic film to audiences all around the world.”

Meanwhile, John Schwarz and Michael Schwarz will produce through their Deeper Water Films banner (“Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan”), alongside Hayes for Rogue Star Pictures.

“‘Gold’ is a classic morality tale told in an excitingly modern fashion, and the creative symmetry between Anthony and Zac has everyone involved incredibly excited to bring this film to global audiences,” said Michael Schwarz.

Executive producers include Andrew Mann, Peter Touche, Simon Williams, Paul Wiegard, Will Clarke, Andy Mayson, Nick Forward and Mike Runagall.

Heads of department include editor Sean Lahiff (“I am Mother,” “Wolf Creek 2”), production designer Sam Hobbs (“Danger Close,” “Red Dog”), director of photography Ross Giardina (“Catch the Fair One,” “The Dressmaker”) with make up and prosthetics by Jennifer Lamphee (“The Wolverine,” “Pacific Rim”).

Efron is represented by CAA, Alchemy Entertainment and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson. The actor most recently boarded an adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel “Firestarter.”