Filming has begun on the feature film adaptation of Jane Harper’s bestselling novel The Dry. Genevieve O’Reilly (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Glitch), Keir O’Donnell (Ray Donovan, Fargo) and John Polson (Mission: Impossible II, The Sum of Us) join Eric Bana (Munich, Chopper, Dirty John) in the production from Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories.
The Dry is an Australian crime thriller based on Harper’s internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning novel. Robert Connolly (Paper Planes, Balibo) will direct from the adapted script he co-wrote with Harry Cripps.
Bana plays Federal Agent Aaron Falk – his first Australian role in over a decade – alongside Irish-born actress Genevieve O’Reilly as Falk’s childhood friend Gretchen. The acclaimed stage and screen actress, who is a NIDA graduate and grew up in Adelaide, recently finished on the Broadway stage in Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman, continuing a record-breaking, sold-out run from London’s West End.
O’Reilly will next be seen in Tolkien, the biopic of the iconic Lord Of The Rings author, opposite Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins. She is well-known for her recurring role of ‘Mon Mothma’ in the Star Wars franchise, as well as roles in Australian series Glitch and All Saints, and international dramas Spooks, Tin Star and Episodes.
Also making homecomings are Sydney-born Keir O’Donnell as local Kiewarra detective Raco, his first role in an Australian production following a successful career in the US appearing in the popular Fargo TV series and Ray Donovan with Liev Schreiber; and Australian actor, director and Tropfest founder, John Polson, as school headmaster Scott Whitlam. Polson is a director and producer on the hit TV series Elementary with Lucy Liu.
Said producer Bruna Papandrea: “We’ve been so excited about the prospect of making a film of Jane’s brilliant book from the moment we read it. We couldn’t be more pleased about how it’s all come together – an amazing cast led by Eric, a terrific script, a top-notch crew and the awesome Rob Connolly at the helm. We’re beyond thrilled!”
Director Robert Connolly said, “It’s an incredible gift in my career to be able to work with such a talented team to adapt Jane Harper’s wonderful detective thriller The Dry for the screen and begin the adventure of working with a stunning cast of established and emerging actors. The added bonus is the chance to film in my home of Victoria in the exceptional landscape depicted in the book.”
After an absence of twenty years, Aaron Falk (Bana) returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke, who allegedly killed his wife and child before taking his own life. A victim of the madness that has ravaged this community after more than a decade of drought.
Aaron reluctantly agrees to investigate the crime to see whether it was more than just a murder-suicide. When the investigation opens an old wound— the death of Ellie Deacon, Aaron and Luke’s childhood friend—Aaron begins to suspect these two crimes, separated by two decades, are connected. But as he struggles to prove not only Luke’s innocence but his own, he finds himself pitted against the prejudice and pent up rage of a terrified community.
Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies, Gone Girl, The Nightingale), Jodi Matterson (Down Under, 2:22, Little Monsters) and Steve Hutensky (2:22, The Nightingale, Little Monsters) are producing The Dry for Made Up Stories. Bana and Connolly will serve as executive producers on the project alongside Ricci Swart, Andrew Myer, Jeanne Snow and Meryl Metni.
The film has received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Film Victoria. It will be shot entirely in Victoria, across several regional locations in the Wimmera region.
Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “Just four years ago, Jane Harper received the unpublished manuscript prize at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and now, The Dry is coming to the big screen. We are proud to back this production which will showcase the talents of Victoria’s crews, the versatility of our locations and the state’s reputation as a screen leader.”
Film Victoria’s CEO, Caroline Pitcher said: “We’re thrilled to support this powerhouse collaboration between the highly acclaimed Made Up Stories, Robert Connolly and Eric Bana to adapt Jane Harper’s novel for the screen. Together they are set to create an original, Victorian screen story that will absolutely captivate audiences worldwide.”
The Dry will be distributed by Roadshow Films in Australia and New Zealand.