By Anthony Frajman

Matthew Holmes, the filmmaker behind 2016 bushranger film Legend of Ben Hall returns to familiar territory with Ned Kelly film Glenrowan.

“It’s time to see this iconic figure from a fresh perspective,” said Holmes. “We’re approaching this story of a complex young man without forcing labels onto him such as hero, victim or psychopath. This realistic approach allows Ned to be shown exactly as he was: a person with both strong virtues and deep flaws. It also allows the audience to choose how they feel about him. We wanted to create something different from the standard ‘life story’ biopic. We’re showing things that have never been shown before in a Ned Kelly film. But most of all, we want to give audiences an emotional and action-packed experience that grips them from its opening moments and doesn’t let go until the final frame.”

One of the stars of The Legend of Ben Hall, Callan McAuliffe (The Walking Dead), is in talks to play Kelly.

The Legend of Ben Hall won multiple honours overseas, grabbing numerous gongs in the US for cinematography and acting.

Glenrowan’s announcement today marks the 138th Anniversary of Ned Kelly’s capture at Glenrowan, VIC.

The Kelly legend is one that has been the subject of multiple film and TV productions.

In 2003, Heath Ledger portrayed the feted ranger in a film opposite Naomi Watts, Geoffrey Rush, Rachel Griffiths and a young Joel Edgerton. In the same year, Abe Forsythe (Down Under) starred in and directed the satirical Ned.

Mick Jagger also played the icon in a 1970 film directed by Tony Richardson.

There have been many films set in the bushranger period of Australian history, including arguably the world’s first ever feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906), which is briefly referenced in this year’s Sweet Country. The genre was actually outlawed in this country for its potential danger to inspire crime.

It has, however, returned with a vengeance. 2005’s The Proposition saw Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, David Wenham and Noah Taylor take on the legend, with music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. In 2013, Brendan Cowell had a stab with The Outlaw Michael Howe, and in 2008 and 2009 we had two films touching on cannibal convict Alexander Pearce, Van Diemen’s Land and Dying Breed respectively.

Justin Kurzel has reunited with Snowtown writer Shaun Grant to adapt Peter Carey’s novel The True History of the Kelly Gang, with Russell Crowe set to star as Kelly mentor Harry Power, and George MacKay as Ned. The film will also star Essie Davis and Nicholas Hoult.

Russell Cunningham and Jessica Pearce will produce Glenrowan from an original screenplay by Matthew Holmes, Aidan Phelan and historian consultant Steve Jager. The filmmakers are currently seeking private investment and distribution deals.

An early 2019 shoot in Victoria is planned.

    29 June 2018 at 9:21 am

    The public will never all agree on all the story because some can be interturped differently but only if people dont try or dont care why the actions were done.
    But i say the law in thoses days needs to be understood and the police also made some very bad actions and in todays law the Police had crime convictions and Ned Kelly most of the time acted in love for his Mother and Sister and ok he did commit murder and he got hung but (even the BIBLE says greater love has (no manor woman to lay down their Life for his friends (your relations should also be your friends)Ned Kelly was a devout Cathlioc and was Irish.

  • Stuart Dawson
    Stuart Dawson
    5 July 2018 at 4:47 pm

    You may be interested in a free new book that demolishes the idea that Kelly wanted to create a Republic of North-East Victoria, to be triggered by the destruction of a police train at Glenrowan in 1880. It is pure historical fiction. This study is a close historical analysis of the construction of a romantic myth of a Kelly-led republic. It reviews the arguments advanced to support the narrative, and demonstrates that they are contradicted at every point by documented historical evidence. At no point in the entire Kelly outbreak down to his execution did Kelly concern himself with a republic or political change. The “Kelly republic” emerges as Australia’s most extraordinary history hoax. The book can be downloaded free as a PDF by Googling “ironicon” to reach the Iron Icon website homepage, or directly from this link:

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