Filmmaker Robert Connolly, of Australia’s biggest box-office success of 2021, The Dry, is seeing his 20-year passion project Blueback enter into a new stage of production. The family-friendly picture is based on Tim Winton’s novella of the same title, and tells a story of ecological importance. Big-name actors onboard for Blueback include Aussies Eric Bana, who previously collaborated with Connolly on The Dry, Mia Wasikowska and Radha Mitchell. Two newcomers Ariel Donoghue and Ilsa Fogg are geared up to play the main character Abby’s younger and older selves, respectively. The film’s supporting cast will feature Liz Alexander, Kenyan-Australian actor Albert Mwangi, and Clarence Ryan.
Blueback will follow the narrative of Winton’s novella, but will swap out the book’s protagonist Abel Jackson, for a female Abby. The narrative focuses on Abby’s life-long pursuit to sustain the coral reefs of the world. It begins with childhood-Abby in the early stages of her ecological interest when she sets out to explore the sea life of her Australian environment. There, she befriends a wild blue groper only to realize the immediate threat poachers in the area pose to the creature. Inspired by her activist mother Dora, Abby takes up the cause, and thus begins her journey to protect her oceans and its wildlife.
The film has already begun shooting in Western Australia with a crew of nature photographers to best capture the country’s ocean life. It will be produced by Arenamedia with additional funding from Film Victoria, Screen Australia, Western Australian Regional Film Fund, Royalties for Regions, Screenwest, and Lotterywest. Australia and New Zealand distribution sales will be handled by Roadshow Films while HanWay Films will distribute internationally.