Production on the adaptation of Trent Dalton’s novel Boy Swallows Universe has kicked off in Brisbane, with the eight-part series being produced by Sydney-based Brouhaha Entertainment.
The limited series will screen globally on Netflix, which has revealed Travis Fimmel (Vikings, Warcraft, Raised by Wolves, Black Snow) will star in the production as Lyle Orlik alongside Simon Baker (The Mentalist, Breath, High Ground) as Robert Bell, and Phoebe Tonkin (Babylon, Kid Snow, Transfusion, Westworld) as Frances Bell.
The roles of the young Eli and Gus Bell will be played by Felix Cameron (Penguin Bloom) and Lee Tiger Halley (The Heights, Featherweight, Crazy Fun Park) respectively.
Set in 1980s Brisbane, Boy Swallows Universe is a coming-of-age novel about Eli Bell, who navigates growing up with an alcoholic father, addict mother, mute bother and a step-father who sells heroin.
The whirlwind story was first published four years ago by Harper Collins and holds the record as the fastest-selling Australian debut novel.
Netflix’s series follows on from a critically-acclaimed stage adaptation by Queensland Theatre, which premiered at Brisbane Festival last year after delays due to COVID-19.
It has been described as a “love letter” to Brisbane by the book’s author Dalton, who is also a writer for The Weekend Australian Magazine and a former journalist at The Courier Mail.
The series has been adapted for screen by writer John Collee (Master and Commander, Happy Feet, Hotel Mumbai), and produced by Brouhaha alongside global media company Anonymous Content and UK-based Chapter One.
The series’ executive producers are Troy Lum (The Water Diviner, Saving Mr Banks, Mao’s Last Dancer) and Andrew Mason (The Matrix, The Water Diviner) on behalf of Brouhaha, Sophie Gardiner (Howards End, Little Women, Chimerica) for Chapter One, and Kerry Kohansky-Roberts (Foe, Boy Erased), Joel Edgerton (The Gift, Boy Erased, The King) and Toby Bently (Best Interests, Kiri) from Anonymous Content.
Behind the camera will be directors Bharat Nalluri (Spooks, Life on Mars), Jocelyn Moorhouse (Proof, How to Make an American Quilt, A Thousand Acres) and Kim Mordaunt (The Rocket, Fires, Wakefield).
Director of photography is Shelly Farthing-Dawe, production designer is Michelle McGahey, costume designer is Kerry Thompson, hair and makeup designer is Angela Conte and casting director is Nikki Barrett.
The production, which is expected to inject around $33 million into the state economy, is supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy.
Other productions supported by the agency include NBC Universal’s series Young Rock and JOE vs CAROLE, Paramount Pictures’ Love and Monsters, Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla vs Kong, and the upcoming series Limbo for ABC.
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