By Travis Johnson

We’ve seen plenty of modern day Shakespeare adaptations over the years, some good (Baz’s Romeo + Juliet), some bad (Geoffrey Wright’s Macbeth), some just plain curious (Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing), but we’ve never seen one set in Melbourne’s commission flats. Well, that’s not something we’re going to able to keep saying for long (not that we actually said it), with the news that Screen Australia and the MIFF Premiere Fund have thrown principal production investment at M4M, an adaptation of Will the Quill’s Measure for Measure from Pawno writer Damian Hill and director Paul Ireland, with Aussie acting legend Hugo Weaving set to star.

As the official presser tells us, “M4M tells the unlikely love story of a modern Muslim woman Jaiwara and local loner musician Claudio, set amongst the tense background of Melbourne’s housing estates. Looming large is local crime figure Duke (played by Weaving) and his rival Farouk, Jaiwara’s gangster brother.”

Ireland, who is directing and has co-written the screenplay with Hill, said, “The script for me is always the most important part of the process, the foundation of everything. Damian and I have spent the last two years pouring a lot of love, laughter, frustration, care and emotion into the writing of M4M, resulting in what I feel is a very relevant emotive story and world that deserves to be shared and shown. A world that is often ignored as people are happy to sit in ignorance and let the sun shine or the rain fall, thinking it doesn’t affect them.

“I am at the moment working with Mcleod Casting putting together a very interesting and diverse cast to bring this story to life and am so thrilled that one of the world’s greatest actors, Hugo Weaving, has decided to play a key role.”

Hill and Ireland are also producing the film, with Ian Kirk, Bryce Menzies, Tony Nagle and Clement Dunn are acting as executive producers. Bankside Films are attached for international sales.

“Damian Hill and Paul Ireland proved themselves as filmmakers with their low budget feature Pawno, and M4M is their chance to tell a story on a bigger budget. The script for M4M is exceptional and the result of much hard work and skill over a long period. This is a contemporary Australian reimagining of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure that is authentic, exciting and inclusive.” said Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia. “To be able to attract Hugo Weaving, one of this country’s greatest actors to the film is an absolute coup and we have high hopes for what Hill and Ireland will deliver.”

Filming is set to commence in Melbourne this September.




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