Australian production company TREE Productions have announced that Christina Ricci will arrive in Sydney later this month to star in the feature film Around The Block.
"Growing up is hard; growing up in Redfern is harder." So reads the tagline of Around the Block, which belongs with films such as To Sir With Love and Dangerous Minds in the gritty suburban teacher ouvre. It is described in its production announcement as "a universal ‘feel good movie’ infused with the true gritty reality that is contemporary urban life in Sydney," and aims to provide "a contemporary urban story that offers a role model outside the football field or boxing ring."
Set in Redfern, the movie casts Ricci as Dino Chalmers "a young idealistic American drama teacher" who attempts to stage a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with her year 11 class at Redfern High School, helping an indigenous boy Liam (Hunter Lochard Page) to pursue his dream of acting along the way.
“This a story about freedom, the ability to choose one's own path in life and create one's own destiny. As Liam is lead down two opposing paths by his criminally minded brother and optimistically inspiring drama teacher he becomes painfully aware that he must make a decision that will shape his life forever”, said the film's writer and director Sarah Spillan.
The film will co-star Jack Thompson who is also an Executive Producer on the film. “I've been looking forward to making this film for a couple of years now," said Thompson. "I believe this is the most exciting Australian project for me, since working with Baz Lurhmann on Australia.
"I know that Christina Ricci will bring her own special quality to join an already fabulous cast. This will be one out of the box."
Other key cast currently confirmed for the production include Hunter Lochard Page, Matt Nable, Ruby Rose, Madeline Madden (granddaughter of Charlie Perkins), Mark Coles Smith, Dan Henshall and Damien Walshe-Howling.
Around the Block is scheduled for release in the first half of 2013.