Fred Schepisi to Direct Geoffrey Rush, Charlotte Rampling and Judy Davis in The Eye of the Storm

Fred Schepisi to Direct Geoffrey Rush, Charlotte Rampling and Judy Davis in The Eye of the Storm

Fred Schepisi to Direct Geoffrey Rush, Charlotte Rampling and Judy Davis in The Eye of the Storm

Berlin (February 11, 2010) – Paper Bark Films, is set to bring one of Australia’s greatest literary works, THE EYE OF THE STORM, to the screen, it was announced today by Producers Antony Waddington and Gregory Read.

Award-winning Australian director Fred Schepisi (“Six Degrees of Separation”) is on board to direct a stellar award winning cast including Geoffrey Rush (“Shine”), Charlotte Rampling (“Swimming Pool”) and Judy Davis (“A Passage to India”).

The publication in 1973 of THE EYE OF THE STORM culminated in author Patrick White becoming the only Australian to receive the prestigious Nobel Prize for literature.  This classic novel explores the monumental tides of love and hate, comedy and tragedy, impotence and longing that fester within family relationships.  The story has been adapted for the screen by Judy Morris (co-director/writer of Academy Award winning film “Happy Feet”) and the script has already earned the prestigious Rodney Seaborn Playwright’s Award.

“It’s an amazing salute to Patrick White’s formidable work to attract such incredible talent as director Fred Schepisi and writer Judy Morris to capture the real dynamics of family relationships and politics that are still prevalent in today’s world,” producer Antony Waddington commented on making the announcement.  Added his producing partner Gregory Read: “We are so thrilled and honored to have such a tour de force trio in Charlotte Rampling, Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis, who are such great masters of emotion - collectively it will be electrifying on screen!”

Currently in pre-production, principal photography on THE EYE OF THE STORM is scheduled to begin in late April 2010.

The Little Film Company, which continues to build its prestigious line-up, will handle worldwide sales, excluding Australasia, and begin pre-sales with buyers at the EFM in Berlin.

When Elizabeth Hunter (Rampling) has a stroke, her son Basil (Rush) and daughter Dorothy (Davis), fly across the world to be at their mother’s bedside.  They are all at a crisis point in their lives, which exacerbates all the old frictions, misunderstandings and resentments that they have tried their hardest to bury or, at very least, avoid for years.  They are like many families.  Only in this family it’s all heightened by their fierce individuality and defenses they have put up to maintain that.  At the heart of the story there’s a past to be reconciled, a future to be secured. There is a longing to be thanked, forgiven, understood and most of all loved. Entitlement has a hold over all of them.  Inheritance even more so…  It’s the main weapon in their emotional battleground, complicating every conversation, spoken and unspoken.

Legendary British actress Charlotte Rampling will play Elizabeth Hunter, a powerful matriarch and ex-socialite who still maintains a destructive iron grip on her family even on her deathbed.  Rampling’s impressive career has spanned over 40 years on the screen debuting opposite James Mason, Alan Bates, and Lynn Redgrave in “Georgy Girl.”  Her impressive list of credits, include most recently “The Duchess” and her critically acclaimed roles in “Swimming Pool,” opposite Charles Dance and “Lemming” with Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Known to worldwide cinema audiences for his role as Barbossa in “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, Geoffrey Rush plays Elizabeth Hunter’s son Sir Basil whose faltering career is spiraling him into financial difficulties.  Rush first shot into the limelight in 1996 with his Academy Award winning performance in “Shine” and has since gone on to earned two Oscar nominations for his roles in “Quills,” and “Shakespeare in Love.”  His other critically acclaimed credits include “Elizabeth,” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”

One of Australia’s finest and internationally renowned actresses, Judy Davis will play Dorothy, whose estrangement from her mother is in desperate need of reconciliation.

Davis, who has been nominated twice for an Academy Award for her powerful performances in David Lean’s “A Passage to India,” and Woody Allen’s “Husband and Wives,” is no stranger to tour de force roles, earning an AFI Award for portraying screen icon Judy Garland in “Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows.”  Her debut performance in 1979 earned her a BAFTA newcomer award in “My Brilliant Career” opposite Sam Neill.  Davis’s other extraordinary credits include “Georgia” and is currently receiving critical acclaim as Joan McAllister in the popular television series “The Starter Wife” with Debra Messing.

Staring mortality in the face, THE EYE OF THE STORM draws you deeply into the lives of this broken family and how they eventually come to terms with who they are, what they mean to each other, how they can best survive one another; and how they will find a peace that they can live with – the Eye of the Storm…

Produced by Antony Waddington and Gregory Read, THE EYE OF THE STORM will be directed by Fred Schepisi whose directorial work was honored in 2003 by the Australia Film Institute for Outstanding Achievement Award.  Schepisi’s notable credits include “Six Degrees of Separation,” “The Russia House,” and “Empire Falls.”

Executive producer Jonathan Shteinman most recently collaborated with The Little Film Company on the Australian thriller “The Clinic,” which is making its European premiere at EFM.  Shteinman’s numerous credits include “Rabbit-Proof Fence,” “Oyster Famer,” and “December Boys” starring Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe.

The Little Film Company is currently enjoying great success with the adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s THE LAST STATION earning Academy Award nominations this week for its stars Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren.  Directed by Michael Hoffman (“Restoration”), the film has also received five Spirit Award nominations and is receiving both box office and critical success in the US under the Sony Pictures Classics banner.