Currently vying for an AACTA with his haunting (sorry) documentary Ghosthunter, Ben Lawrence’s socially conscious dramatic debut, Hearts and Bones has secured Hugo Weaving for the lead role, straight after the actor played a role in the Melbourne-shot urban drama M4M. Weaving will soon be seen on the screen as the villain in the blockbuster Mortal Engines, continuing his tradition of making big films for Hollywood and supporting the local industry and emerging filmmakers.
“It’s a dream come true to be working with Hugo Weaving, who is undoubtedly one of his generation’s greatest actors,” says Lawrence. “Having someone of Hugo’s calibre play alongside Andrew Luri, a South Sudanese Australian who has never acted, is such an exciting proposition and I can’t wait to see what Andrew will bring to this story.”
According to the press release, Hearts and Bones is ‘the compelling, heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of hope, friendship and homecoming between a war correspondent and a Sudanese refugee, who are connected by a photograph that threatens to destroy them both. War photographer, Dan Fisher (Weaving) has recently returned home to Sydney from assignment. Haunted by years at war, he struggles to conceal his fear of imminent fatherhood and immerses himself in preparations for an upcoming exhibition of his work. This grabs the attention of Sebastian Aman (Luri), a Sudanese refugee whose village Dan had photographed 20 years earlier. As the bond between the two men develops, a startling revelation comes to light that sets both on an unexpected path. The film explores the issues of personal identity, the ties of family, friendship, masculinity and fatherhood, all set against Sydney’s diverse and expanding cultural divide.’
Lawrence co-wrote the script with Beatrix Christian (Jindabyne, Picnic at Hanging Rock TV series), and it is being produced by Matt Reeder (The Little Death, Joe Cinque’s Consolation), who has worked with South Sudanese criminal lawyer, refugee and public speaker Deng Adut for community consultation and script and story development.
“When work on this script began in 2002, the world had just witnessed 9/11 and Australia had embarked on a war in Afghanistan that continues to this day. The flow of refugees has since grown to numbers that haven’t been seen since World War II. Hearts and Bones is an urban mystery that explores Australia’s place in this changed world,” says Lawrence.