The global producer and distributor, Fremantle, today announced that internationally acclaimed and award winning Australian director Justin Kurzel and award-winning screen writer Shaun Grant will bring to life the screen adaption of Richard Flanagan’s novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
Fremantle’s Director of Scripted Jo Porter will produce this landmark limited series.
Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant have forged a formidable presence both locally and on the global screen landscape. Shaun received the prestigious AACTA award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his chilling debut feature film Snowtown and Justin received the AACTA award for best direction for the film. They also collaborated on the upcoming feature True History of the Kelly Gang which debuted at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival to critical praise again – wins so far include the AWG for Shaun’s screenplay.
Shaun’s writing credits also include the films Berlin Syndrome and Jasper Jones, both for which he received AACTA nominations, David Fincher’s acclaimed Netflix series Mindhunter and the forthcoming feature Penguin Bloom starring Naomi Watts. Justin’s director credits include the films Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard for which he was nominated for a Palme d’Or, and Assassin’s Creed. He is currently in production on the television adaption of Shantaram for Apple.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a masterpiece as acknowledged by its win of the Booker Prize. At its core is an achingly powerful insight into the many forms of love; a humanist examination of what links us all, forged through the savagery of war. It a uniquely honest and powerful portrait of a man and the woman he loves.
Chris Oliver-Taylor, CEO, Asia Pacific, Fremantle and Jo Porter, Director of Scripted, Fremantle, said: “Richard Flanagan’s novel has been hailed as a masterpiece around the world. It had an immensely powerful impact on readers in Australia and was a bestseller globally. We needed a screenwriter and a director creatively at the top of their game to bring this tragic, heroic and remarkable story to the screen. Justin and Shaun are audacious, bold and share our passion for this project. We are thrilled to announce they will be working with us to realise our ambitions for the series.”
Justin Kurzel said: “I feel extremely honoured to be trusted by Richard Flanagan to bring to life this complete masterpiece of a novel. I am so excited to be collaborating again with Shaun Grant and can’t wait to work with the Fremantle team in creating such an epic and incredibly powerful story.”
Shaun Grant said: “Having read Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep Northseveral years ago, and being moved beyond words, I am excited to adapt his sublime novel for the screen. My grandfather was a Prisoner of War, who worked the Thai-Burma railway, hence this project is very dear to my heart.”
Richard Flanagan said: “I am genuinely delighted. Justin Kurzel is rightly considered to be one of the most exciting directors in world cinema today, and Shaun Grant is a marvellous writer of equivalent talent who brings to the project a deep personal connection. It feels very right to me and I have a suspicion that the resulting series may just be astonishing.”
Further news on this ground breaking drama, including casting, to follow in 2020. The Fremantle production team will include Chris Oliver Taylor, Jo Porter, Amy Noble and Nat Lindwall.
Recently, Fremantle has announced several new drama projects around the world including a greenlight from Apple for Mosquito Coast starring Justin Theroux. The series is produced by Fremantle’s North American team, is written by Neil Cross and directed by Rupert Wyatt. The US division also secured a deal with Showtime for the adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast book series with Toby Whithouse serving as showrunner, with Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldman as executive producers. Fremantle’s UK producer, Euston Films announced their ITV commission of the Neil Cross penned drama Because the Night.