Cinema Australia Original Content:
by Matthew Eeles
Cinema Australia readers have been given an exclusive, early look at new Australian feature film, Rage, from Prima Lux Films.
Currently filming in Melbourne, Rage is a passion project for director John Balazs whose credits includes the action packed shorts Night Shift and Dancer.
After a violent home invasion leaves mild-mannered husband Noah (Matt Theo) in a coma and his wife Madeline (Hayley Beveridge) deeply traumatised, Noah awakens to find out that one of the attackers is still on the loose. As Noah and the nearly-despondent Madeline try to move on with their lives, Madeline spots the attacker, opening up a twisted tale of brutal revenge where all isn’t as it seems. Along the way, a scarred and seasoned Detective John Bennett (Richard Norton) fights his own inner demons whilst trying to solve the crime.
“I actually wrote a 10 page treatment in 2008 after reading about the Cheshire, Connecticut, home invasion murders the year prior. As much as that story really disturbed me and I felt such an emotional pain for the family at the time, my mind could not help but form a story around that event,” Balazs tells Cinema Australia.
In his mid twenties at the time, Balazs decided to shelve the project knowing that he needed a few more years behind him in order to tackle the mature themes portrayed in the film.
After a long search for a screenwriter, the team found award-winning, New York-based The Suicide Theory writer Michael J. Kospiah who transformed the treatment into an original story with the same beats and plot points from Balazs’s initial concept.
“Michael wrote another film a few years earlier for another Australian film company and we felt his interpretation and understanding of the material was on the same path as us. After many months, the story changed more and more to accommodate today’s marketplace expectations but with enough twists and turns to keep an audience enthralled and engaged in the character’s journeys. There are many surprises in this film,” said Balazs.
Balazs presented Rage to Night Shift actor Matt Theo who was looking to kick start his acting career and tackle a strong role. Other actors working on the film include Tony Kotsopoulos who plays Officer Tommy Wells, Melissa Barlas who plays Officer Davidson, Nic Stevens stepping into the role of Rebecca, Natasha Maymon in the role of Sofia and Stephen Degenaro in the role of Anthony Bridgewater.
“Over the years we have worked with dedicated and talented local actors who have supported Prima Lux Films from the ground up. Often time we have asked them to dedicate their talent and craft for free,” says Balazs. “When the opportunity for Rage came about, I felt a certain loyalty to go back and hand select the people who have given us so much over the years and give them the chance to showcase and shine on screen on a much larger scale.”
The role of Madeline presented a challenge for Balazs who had 108 actors audition for the role, with the crew finally deciding on Hayley Beverage who impressed the most during her audition.
“Hayley gave an incredibly powerful audition,” says Balazs. “The depth of her performances and the interpretation of the material blew us away. We are also very fortunate to have the legendary Richard Norton join the cast as hard-hitting detective Bennet. Having grown up watching his films, it’s a dream come true to finally work with him.”
Bringing the world of Rage to life are Director of Photography Ben Luck and Production Designer Stephen Wolf who worked on Night Shift and the upcoming comic book film Long Night in Pexington. Vikki Blinks is on board as 1st AD and Producer.
“Vikki has taken it on wholeheartedly with a passion and determination that we’ve come to expect of her,” says Balazs. “Vikki started with Prima Lux as a runner on our short film Dancer and has worked hard to rise above the ranks. We’re extremely proud of her.”