The cast has come together for director Bruce Beresford’s (Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy, Mao’s Last Dancer) big screen adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 best-selling novel, The Women in Black, retitled as Ladies in Black.
The film will star Julia Ormond (Mad Men) as Magda Szombatheli; Angourie Rice (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Beguiled, Every Day) as Sydney schoolgirl Lisa Miles; and Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones, Red Dog, Transformers) as Fay Baines; along with Alison McGirr (Thirty),Vincent Perez (Queen Margot, Cyrano de Bergerac), Ryan Corr (Holding the Man), Susie Porter (Seven Types of Ambiguity), Shane Jacobson (The Dressmaker) and Noni Hazlehurst (A Place to Call Home) as Miss Cartwright.
As for the film itself? “Set in the summer of 1959, when the impact of European migration and the rise of women’s liberation is about to change Australia forever, a shy schoolgirl (Lisa) takes a summer job at the grand city department store, Goode’s, while awaiting the results of her final exams. There she meets the “ladies in black” – the glamorous Goode’s employees. Beguiled and influenced by Magda, the vivacious manager of the high-fashion floor, and befriended by fellow sales ladies Patty & Fay, Lisa grows from a bookish girl to a glamorous and positive young woman, and she herself becomes a catalyst for a cultural change in everyone’s lives.”
Beresford has been keen to get this one up for ages, saying, “I’ve been obsessed with making a film of Madeleine St John’s The Women in Black since I first read the novel about 15 years ago, after being told about it by Clive James, who had also been at Sydney University with Madeleine and myself. I was attracted by Madeleine’s wit, her light touch, her deft characterisations and her portrayal of a Sydney I knew so well – the Sydney of the 1950s and ‘60s – a time when the whole of Australia began to change because of the influx of European migrants (most of them escaping a depressed war-ruined Europe), who brought a whole range of talents (and invariably delicious cuisine) that created the successful multi-cultural society of the Australia we live in today.”
Ladies in Black will shoot October 2017 in Sydney and the Blue Mountains.