A Bran Nue Dae for Missy Higgins

Music star Missy Higgins has been cast in the new film Bran Nue Dae.

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Forget Mamma Mia, Hairspray and Rent: the next big screen adaptation of a stage musical will be Rachel Perkins' interpretation of the highly acclaimed Bran Nue Dae, Australia's first Aboriginal musical. The source material is semi-autobiographical, based on the story of writer Jimmy Chi's life in Broome, and the film, adapted by Perkins, Chi and playwright Reg Cribb (Last Train To Freo) will incorporate all the musical elements of the play.

A handful of Australian actors have signed on to take part in the film, including Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush and Australian TV star Ernie Dingo.  Singer/songwriter Missy Higgins has also joined the cast in her acting debut, playing the role of the hippy, Annie. She said "Broome holds a special place in my heart so this opportunity felt like something I just couldn't pass up on. I fell in love with all the characters when I read the script, especially my character who is a hilarious hippie. Being my first go at acting I'm a bit terrified but I feel very honoured to be working alongside such an incredible cast and crew and I know it's gonna be a lot of fun."

Director Rachel Perkins (Radiance, One Night The Moon) also expressed her excitement at being involved with this film, though admitted that there was some fear involved as well. "I feel at once terrified and exhilarated by the prospect of bringing Australia's first Black musical to the screen. The play and its music have been loved by many people for twenty years and in adapting the work, I feel privileged to be collaborating with its creator, Jimmy Chi."

 I fell in love with all the characters when I read the script, especially my character who is a hilarious hippie.” – Missy Higgins

Bran Nue Dae tells the story of Willie, a young man growing up in the pearl fishing region of Broome. His mother Theresa, who has high hopes for him, sends him to a religious mission for further schooling. Willie is kicked out by the school after an incident and ends up meeting Uncle Tadpole. Together they con a couple of hippies into taking them back to Broome where more revelations await. Ernie Dingo will play Uncle Tadpole and Geoffrey Rush will play Father Benedictus.

The film has recruited a talented crew along with its famous cast, including Academy Award winner Andrew Lesnie (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong) as Director of Photography and Stephen Page (Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre) as choreographer. Producers are Robyn Kershaw (Looking For Alibrandi) and Graham Isaac (Dhakiyarr Vs The King).

The film is set to start shooting in Broome on October 31 followed by a shoot in Perth.

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