Shooting has finished on a film of ‘The Last Ride‘.
While the book was set around Broken Hill in NSW, the film’s locations are all in South Australia’s outback, particularly around the Flinders Ranges and the old town of Quorn where Afghan-led camel trains used to pass, bringing supplies to and from outback stations.
These locations are spectacular for their rocky, mountainous surrounds and give a sense of the mystery and emptiness of the vast landscape, a kind of parallel to the emotional and moral emptiness of Kev, the father in the story.
Kev is played by
Hugo Weaving, and his son, Chook, through whose eyes the story unfolds, is a ten year old actor from Adelaide called Tom Russell. Tom and Hugo have already developed a great rapport, essential in a story in which both appear in almost all scenes. Supporting actors include Anita Hegh as Maryanne, an old girlfriend of Kev’s, whom he hopes will give them shelter. Kev and Chook are searching fruitlessly for a sense of belonging, to a place, a culture or a wider family.
The novel was optioned for a film in 2001, and a number of drafts of the screenplay were written by Mac Gudgeon, a Melbourne scriptwriter, before the shooting script was arrived at. The film is being directed by Glendyn Ivin, whose short film ‘Cracker Bag’ won a Palme D’Or at Cannes in 2003, and the director of photography is Greig Fraser. The co-producers are Nicholas Cole and Antonia Barnard, most recently a producer on ‘The Painted Veil’.
The film is set to preview at the Adelaide International Film Festival in late February 2009, and there are hopes it may be invited to Cannes in May as the first feature film of a former winner. General release in Australia is expected in late 2009.