A swirling, kaleidoscopic mix of magical realism and gritty childhood remembrance, the acclaimed novel Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton’s semi-autobiographical tale of crooks, bikies, drug dealers, prison break-ins, fractured families, saints, sinners and childhood innocence lost – is headed to Netflix via an eight-part series adaptation. With shooting of the small screen adaptation by screenwriter John Collee (Master And Commander, Happy Feet) currently underway courtesy of director Bharat Nalluri (Spooks, Hustle, Life on Mars), Jocelyn Moorhouse (Proof), and Kim Mordaunt (The Rocket, Fires, Wakefield) in Queensland, the major cast has been revealed.

Trent Dalton on the set of Boy Swallows Universe.

Travis Fimmel (Vikings, Warcraft, Raised by Wolves, Black Snow) will feature as as Lyle Orlik, Simon Baker (The Mentalist, Breath, High Ground) as Robert Bell, Phoebe Tonkin (Babylon, Kid Snow, Transfusion, Westworld) will play the role of Frances Bell. The roles of the young Eli and Gus Bell will be played by Felix Cameron (Penguin Bloom) and Lee Tiger Halley (The Heights, Featherweight, Crazy Fun Park). Other major supporting characters will be essayed by Bryan Brown (as Slim Halliday), Anthony La Paglia (as Tytus Broz) and Sophie Wilde (as Caitlyn Spies), with the cast rounded out by Christopher James Baker (as Ivan Kroll), HaiHa Le (as Bich Dang), Deborah Mailman (as Poppy Birkbeck), Ben O’Toole (as Teddy), Zachary Wan (as Darren Dang), and Millie Donaldson and Eloise Rothfield (the 17 and 13 year old Shelley Huffman, respectively).

Boy Swallows Universe will stream on Netflix in 2023.