There are quite a few secrets surrounding the plot of Red Billabong. Going by the recently released teaser poster we know it’s a creature feature of sorts – those beaming red eyes in the sky give that away. But what is it stalking two brothers as they search for their missing friend in the Australian Outback? A story? A legend? A hoax?
Despite all the mysteries one thing we know for sure about Luke Sparke’s anticipated feature film debut is that it boasts one hell of a cast which includes a heap of exciting up-and-coming Australian talent.
Here, Cinema Australia is very pleased to introduce you to that cast as well as director Luke Sparke and DOP Andrew Conder.
“We’re trying to create a film that looks, feels and sounds a lot bigger than it should be.” – Director Luke Sparke
DAN EWING as NICK MARSHAL
It has been an absolute blast shooting Red Billabong. I am so thankful that Luke Sparke and the team at Sparke Films have trusted me to bring the character of Nick Marshall to life.
The production team and our amazing crew have done outstanding work. They are the friendliest people us whingey thespian types could hope for. I would jump at the chance to work with any of them again.
I take great pride in knowing that our little Aussie film will stand up with the “happy meal” selling movies out of the United States.
I hope it is yet another shining example that Australian films deserve the financial help our government hands to big U.S studios to film on our soil and take the profits away from our industry.
Overseas markets are already excited about Red Billabong. I really hope Australians support this great thrill ride and who knows what Australian film projects may follow.
TIM POCOCK as TRISTAN MARSHAL
Red Billabong is a very universally commercial genre film while being extremely Australian at the same time!
We shot a whole week at night in the freezing cold for a huge action sequence in the film. It was a long, cold and painstaking week and seems such a shame that the sequence will only last a few minutes after all that hard work. It’s going to look amazing though.
I would love for people to just sit back, relax and enjoy. I think people will have a lot of fun with this movie. Its shot beautifully, got some really cool action, plenty of scares, and hopefully a few laughs along the way too.
We all had a great time filming. Everyone was really high energy and excited to be on set. I got to work a lot with Dan Ewing, who I’ve known for several years but never actually got to work with him. So it was really nice to finally get to tick that box. There’s also plenty of fresh faces in this film and i definitely think a few stars have been born!
My character, Tristan, is a lovable, cheeky, lonely guy who has had to grow up a little before his time and resents some of the responsibilities that have been forced on him. He thinks of himself as a grown man, but it’s really only in the course of the film that he really does grow up.
SOPHIE DON as ANYA
I have loved every second of playing Anya. Often in films, especially in the horror/action genre, the females are the victims waiting around to be saved. Anya, however, is strong, tough, and witty and what I believe to be a much truer representation of a woman on camera. I really hope that amongst all the action and fun, people see a character with depth. The cast and crew have also been an absolute dream to work with and I’m really excited to see the finished product on the big screen.
BEN CHISHOLM as BJ
I feel that Red Billabong will appeal to a lot of different audiences but without giving too much away I believe that the younger audience will get a real kick out of it. It’s a wild ride. To work with such a quality cast and crew that have been so passionate about the project has just made it more enjoyable. Dan, Tim, Sophie, John, Felix, James, Jess and Emily are just amazing artists who made each day a pleasure to be on set and to have a director/writer like Luke let me have free range with a character like BJ and given the green light ad-lib pretty much every scene is a gift as an artist and I can’t thank him enough to have trusted me to be able to do so. We had a heap of interesting experiences on RB but the one that really springs to mind is the night/day that we had all the cast together. It made for a great day full of fun.
What can I say: BJ is a really down to earth and spiritual guy who loves walks on the beach and cuddling kittens. Ok, so maybe absolutely none of that is true! BJ is a rude, arrogant and manipulative bloke who is set on looking after no one else but BJ. He’s just a loose unit that you love to hate and hate to love, he thinks he’s a ladies man and creates opportunity by preying on the weak like a vulture and uses other peoples weaknesses and vulnerabilities to help boost his own ego like a true narcissist. His relationships are somewhat volatile and tries to use the AC/DC song T.N.T. as his theme music as he wanders the earth.
JESSICA GREEN as REBECCA
I play Rebecca the flirtatious friend.
We filmed in beautiful hinterland locations right on our Gold Coast doorstep, with an amazing cast and crew. Directed by Luke Sparke who had a vision and with his wonderful family Sparke films delivers the suspense action Thriller that will Lure and leave you wanting to see more!
GREGORY J FRYER as MR GARVEY
My first comment is why this hasn’t happened sooner, an Oz action drama combining Indigenous mythology! A very fun and enjoyable shoot and also a learning curve (this is not a criticism!) as by and large I am from a theatrical background, and hence I have gained more experience and refined my craft in screen work.
A very warm, loving and friendly cast & crew. A thing that stands out is the respect and openness to Indigenous culture offered from both Luke as well as cast & crew, as quite often in the past this is often not the case. I was given total freedom in this area and indeed was asked to have active input to make sure it was culturally relevant and appropriate (as much as can be in an action/fantasy/drama etc.) I have very much enjoyed the experience.
JOHN REYNOLDS as SAM
Working on Red Billabong has been a very exciting and satisfying project. The cast and crew have been fantastic to work with and I have been very thankful for the opportunity to bring such a great character to life.
Sam is a very mysterious character who has a strong investment in the current goings on. His return will no doubt raise some questions and bring up some past issues.
Every family has skeletons in the closet. Being able to look at some of the darker elements of this dysfunctional family unit has been very juicy to dive in to. We all have a dark side and it’s always enlightening and sometimes confronting to face your inner demons. The nice part is that when you hear cut you can reel that part of yourself back again and regain your composure.
The big question is who stands to gain the most of this process and who is willing to go the furthest to secure their goal.
FELIX WILLIAMSON as MR RICHARDS
I always enjoy working with young filmmakers. They are passionate. They are chasing a dream and unjaded.
I was attracted to the script because the hero is indigenous and it is based on aboriginal legend.
It’s such a good idea with 60,000 use of history to draw on. I’m really surprised no one thought of it before.
All I will say about Mr. Richards is, he is a real piece of work. And every actor loves to play a real piece of work.
EMILY JOY as KATE
I have had an absolute blast working on Red Billabong. Each day on set was an adventure; I got to do everything from swim in a billabong, act with Digger the dog, to playing drunk in our massive party scenes, and learn about special effects – not bad for my first feature film! We’ve had an incredible crew and I’ve learnt a lot from my fellow cast members. I am so excited for you to see our film – it was so much fun to make and will be even more fun to watch!
JAMES STRAITON as JASON
It’s not often an all Australian team can get together to make a great film and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of – it would be my hope that productions like this might inspire other local talent to bite the bullet and tell the stories they want to tell!
ANDREW CONDER Director of Photography
I was really excited about bringing the aboriginal legend of Red Billabong to the screen. Working alongside Luke Sparke was fantastic, he has such a clear and cinematic vision.
The entire cast were wonderful and worked tirelessly in some really extreme conditions and succeeded in bringing stellar performances to the screen.
I have tried to support those performances with the images by mirroring the inner challenges of the actors and remembering that the Australian landscape was also an important character. The Film starts bright and expansive and takes the audience on a journey into the world of dark, cold and claustrophobic.
LUKE SPARKE Director
We’ve just wrapped on the film and we’re heading into post production. It’s been a fun shoot but also extremely tough as we’re trying to create a film that looks, feels and sounds a lot bigger than it should be. We were up against it every day with time, money, weather, outback locations and more – but luckily the cast and crew was a well-oiled machine that got it done.
They say casting is a huge percentage of directing and I cast this film myself, half due to budget constraints and half due to me knowing I had to go with my gut and get it right, and I can happily say we all feel the cast was spot on. They all knew their characters inside and out but also knew where my vision was heading and would all work together to make it happen. I think I let every cast member adlib at one point or another as I wanted it to sound natural rather than jamming scripted words down their throat.
Andy Conder, my DOP, was an absolute joy to work with – I couldn’t of got it finished without him. The speed of shooting sometimes was so fast that I don’t think anyone else could handle it, let along produce such awesome shots. Like the cast, he just ‘got my vision’ so was a very easy working environment between us (at least on my end!). All my other HOD’s were amazing and all worked together really well.
I also couldn’t have done it without our amazing producers and production staff, who basically did ten jobs between three of them. It was crazy.
It’s turned out very well and I’m looking forward to after Cannes when we can hopefully release a teaser. Stay tuned!