Mentalist star announces Australia-set directorial debut
Star of the popular US series The Mentalist, Simon Baker, has announced his directorial debut at Cannes.
The feature, entitled Breath, will be produced by Academy and Emmy Award-winning producer Mark Johnson, whose credits include Breaking Bad, The Notebook and the tear-jerking classic Rain Man, along side Simon Baker and Australian producer Jamie Hilton.
Baker, who also starred in Margin Call and The Devil Wears Prada, will also star. The screenplay is written by Gerard Lee, known from his work on Top of the Lake. A dramatic thriller, the film is based on the best-selling book of the same name by author Tim Winton. It focuses on the lives of two teenage thrill-seeking boys. Hungry for discovery they form an unlikely bond with reclusive older surfer, Sando (Baker) and his mysterious wife. The boys are driven to take risks that will have a profound and lasting impact on their lives.
"When I first read Breath, I knew I had to somehow make the film,” said Baker. “The gathering storm of the story, detailed and intimate against the power and scope of the rugged setting, struck me as incredibly cinematic. I’m beyond excited to be back filming in Australia realising this dream."
Breath is being developed and financed with the assistance of principal investor Screen Australia and starts filming this fall. The film is also being financed with the assistance of ScreenWest.
Screen Australia CEO, Graeme Mason said, "It is fantastic to have Simon return to Australia to make his feature directorial debut and even more so to portray an iconic Australian story to screen. The buzz it has created here in Cannes demonstrates the film will appeal to audiences worldwide."
Arclight Films will handle worldwide sales for the film.