Stuart Beattie Adapting and Directing Australia's Tomorrow
by Alex Billington
June 15, 2009
Pirates of the Caribbean screenwriter Stuart Beattie will make his directorial debut with an adaptation of Tomorrow, When the War Began. The novel is the first in a popular series of seven books written by Australian John Marsden first published in 1994. The Tomorrow Series, as it is known, details the insurgency efforts of a band of Aussie teenagers fighting off an enemy invasion and foreign occupation of their homeland, similar to Red Dawn. Beattie, who has read and loves the books, is writing the screenplay and is preparing to shoot down in Australia in September. "It's coming of age in a war zone," he explains.
Paramount Vantage is co-financing along with Omnilab Media, who will handle the sizable visual effects through its company Iloura, which worked on Australia. The filmmakers plan to make a trilogy of features from the first three books and then, if they're successful, spin the next four off into a TV series. The main character is a teen named Ellie Linton, who struggles to become a fierce leader even while navigating relationships with the seven other teenagers in her group. The Tomorrow Series is one of the most popular Australian series ever published, however, none of the books ever really big very popular here in the US.
As for that comparison to Red Dawn, even Beattie knows about it. "I don't want to make Red Dawn," he tells THR. "Do you remember when The Full Monty and Striptease were coming out together? They came out within months as the exact same premise -- the parent strips for money so they can see their kid… We're more like the Full Monty version." But it's also about a bit of Australian pride. "Australia hasn't made an action movie, I think, since Mad Max, so it's the opportunity to do something in the biggest sense. And it's only doable because there is this great property out there that everyone in Australia knows." Sounds good.