Michael Fassbender will play Macbeth as a returned soldier in Justin Kurzel's version, which starts production in January.
Locally, the film industry's focus has switched to the Adelaide Film Festival, where a crop of new Australian features has been screening over the past week. John Curran's meditative drama Tracks, with Mia Wasikowska recreating Robyn Davidson's famous outback camel trek in the 1970s, deserves the acclaim that followed its debut in Venice and Toronto. It reaches cinemas in March. Rolf de Heer's Charlie's Country, a heart-wrenching drama in which David Gulpilil stars as a man struggling under the Northern Territory Intervention, also impressed. It will be released next year after, no doubt, an international festival life that will include acclaim for the riveting Gulpilil. Also debuting strongly was Eddie Martin's hard-hitting documentary All This Mayhem, which tells the story of Australian professional skateboarders Tas and Ben Pappas, who went from number one and two in the world to drug addiction, cocaine smuggling and, in the case of Ben, a shocking death in 2007. It is also headed for a cinema release next year.
Sherman promises fresh take for Kurzel's Macbeth
Oscar-winning producer Emile Sherman (The King's Speech, Tracks) is delighted with the stellar cast of one of his new films, shooting in London and Scotland from January. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard will star in Macbeth for Snowtown director Justin Kurzel. "It’s 11th century Scotland but it’s very visceral, very cinematic and very much motivated by the trauma of war," says Sherman. "We’re telling a story about a soldier who’s come back from war and is trying to piece his life together with his wife."
Matt Smith's Doctor will make the biggest leap of all – to the big screen – for Dr Who's 50th anniversary "feature-length" episode. Photo: Supplied
Who's that on the big screen?
Doctor Who has broken a lot of rules over the years and next month the Time Lord breaks another one when the 50th anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor screens in 87 Australian cinemas after screening on ABC TV earlier the same day. Cinema operators and the BBC expect rabid fans will want to see the 75-minute film in 3D, even if they have already watched the simultaneous global television broadcast on November 24. The special, which will follow "specially shot introductions for cinema audiences all around the world", features Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, David Tennant, Billie Piper and John Hurt.
Flurry of local films at box office
Desert epic: Tracks will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
While Gravity continues to be the hottest ticket in cinemas – its local haul is up to $8.7 million in 11 days – The Turning also continues to do well. Though showing in just 19 cinemas, the Tim Winton adaptation has taken $827,000 so far. But its popularity will be tested when three other Australian films open this week – Ivan Sen’s outback western Mystery Road, Mark Hartley’s horror remake Patrick and, in Melbourne only initially, Lynn-Maree Milburn’s documentary In Bob We Trust, about the colourful Father Bob Maguire.
Patrick scores North American distribution
Speaking of Patrick, the film has been picked up for North American distribution by Phase 4 Films and Uncork’d Entertainment for release in cinemas and online during the northern hemisphere spring. "Patrick simultaneously terrified and won over our entire team when we saw it at Fantastic Fest last month," said Berry Meyerowitz, the Phase 4 president and chief executive. "Mark Hartley has done a tremendous job of paying homage to the original film but adding a fresh and modern new take on it." Producer Antony Ginnane says the film has also sold to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, the Middle East, Germany, Benelux and Switzerland.
Mystery Road, Satellite Boy for indigenous festival in Toronto
Since its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in June, Mystery Road has continued to enjoy a strong run at international festivals. In the latest, director Ivan Sen and star Aaron Pedersen will attend the opening-night screening at the ImagiNATIVE Festival, which celebrates indigenous work, in Toronto. The duo will also speak at a directing masterclass for "indigenous visionaries". Also screening at the festival is Catriona McKenzie's Satellite Boy.
Outsider scores top prize in New York screenplay contest
He funds his scripts by sharetrading and knows "virtually no-one in the Australian film industry", but Stephen Guest from the Wollongong suburb of Bellambi, NSW, has picked up a prestigious screenwriting award in the US – the grand jury prize in the New York Screenplay Contest. His script, The Other Side Of Normal, is a drama about an ambitious Manhattan lawyer who is torn between her career and putting her Down Syndrome baby up for adoption. The award promises to set up Guest with a producer. "I hope this will be my breakthrough in Hollywood," he says.
Triangle Wars to prompt discussion of planning laws
A screening of Rosie Jones’s 2011 documentary The Triangle Wars, about the protest against a planned shopping complex in St Kilda, will be followed by a discussion of the state government’s new planning laws on Thursday October 17. The new chief executive of the City of Port Phillip, Tracey Slatter, will answer questions at St Kilda's George Revival Cinema. What should be a lively night starts at 7pm.