Joining forces: Bana, Connolly filming Dry follow-up

By Patricia Meunier

Actor Eric Bana and director Robert Connolly are reuniting for a film based on the novel Force of Nature, set in the Australian wilderness. Connolly and Bana previously paired up on The Dry, an extraordinary success reaching No 1 at the national box office.

Like The Dry, Force of Nature was adapted from a novel by Jane Harper. Both men also worked together on Blueback, a story about family, belonging and living a life in tune with the environment, adapted from a Tim Winton story.

Force of Nature is set in the Giralang Ranges where five women take part in a corporate hiking retreat along a muddy track. The hike is meant to take the office colleagues out of their comfort zone according to its website. Only four come out on the other side.

Federal agents Aaron Falk (Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor) and Carmen Cooper (Jacqueline McKenzie) are investigating the Victorian mountain ranges. They are searching for a whistleblower (Anna Torv) who goes missing while hiking. She knows secrets and lies.

A cast featuring some of Australia’s finest actors has been announced. The hikers-turned-suspects are played by Deborra-Lee Furness (“Jindabyne”) as Jill Bailey, Robin McLeavy (“Homeland”) as Lauren, Sisi Stringer (“Mortal Kombat”) as Beth, and Lucy Ansell (“Utopia”) as Bree. The cast also includes Richard Roxburgh as Daniel Bailey, Tony Briggs as Ian Chase and Kenneth Radley as Sergeant King.

Production has started on Monday and will be located in regional Victoria, in the Dandenong Ranges, Yarra Valley and the Otways. Unlike The Dry, it will be cold, green and likely wet.

Made Up Stories is working in association with Connolly’s Arenamedia and Bana’s Pick Up Truck Pictures to produce the film which is once again written and directed by Connolly. A major investment comes from Screen Australia in association with VicScreen. Soundfirm and Blue Post are also providing financial support.

“I’m so excited to return to the world of Detective Aaron Falk,” said Connollly. “Jane Harper’s Force of Nature is a deeply emotional and thrilling story showcasing the extraordinary world and landscape of the Australian wilderness.”

Now the Falk saga part two is in production, the filmmakers hope it will become a franchise. After all, The Dry was in the top three films in the country for the first five weeks of release. It took more than $20 million at the local box office and became the biggest independent Australian release of the year.

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