Western Australian story Runt to be made for big screen

  • Craig Silvey’s heartwarming novel Runt will be adapted for the big screen
  • Family adventure feature will be filmed in Perth and Wheatbelt regions
  • Australian cast to include Jai Courtney, Celeste Barber, Deborah Mailman, Matt Day and Jack Thompson
  • Film joins series of feature productions to be filmed in WA this year

Craig Silvey’s best-selling novel, Runt, is being adapted for the big screen after selling more than 100,000 copies and winning multiple awards. The See Pictures production will be directed by John Sheedy (H is for Happiness), produced by Jamie Hilton (Breath, June Again) with Silvey writing the screenplay.

Filming will take place in WA’s Perth and Wheatbelt regions with support from the State Government’s Western Australian Regional Screen Fund (WARSF). The family adventure follows 11-year-old Annie Shearer’s quest to save her family’s sheep farm with the help of an adopted stray, Runt, who becomes her best friend.

Production of the feature film is set to commence in 2023 with a big-ticket cast including international star Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, Divergent, Suicide Squad) as Father Bryan Shearer, Australia’s Celeste Barber (Wellmania, The Letdown) as Susie Shearer, Beloved screen legend Deborah Mailman (Sapphires, Total Control) as mentor Bernadette Box and stalwart Jack Thompson (Breaker Morant, The Man from Snowy River, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones) as the villainous Earl Robert Barron.

Matt Day(Sweet Country, Muriel’s Wedding, Tangle) is the cunning Fergus Fink and Tom Budge (Candy, Tracks, The Proposition) is his sidekick Simpkins, with Genevieve Lemon (Power of the Dog, The Piano) playing Grandmother, Dolly Shearer.

Lily La Torre (Run Rabbit Run) will play protagonist Annie, alongside her real brother – newcomer Jack La Torre – as her on-screen sibling, daredevil Max.

The WARSF aims to build Western Australian regional capacity and contribute to the liveability and vibrancy of Western Australian regional communities and has supported many high-profile productions such as multi-award-winning feature film Sweet As, critically acclaimed series Mystery Road: Origin, plus popular documentaries Ningaloo Nyinggulu for the ABC, Aussie Gold Hunters for Discovery, and Shipwreck Hunters Australia for Disney+.

The Western Australian Regional Screen Fund is funded by the State Government through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and managed by Screenwest.

As stated by Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:

“Craig Silvey is a beloved Western Australian author and it is fitting that his story, Runt, is to be transformed for the screen in our State.

“The State Government’s Western Australian Regional Screen Fund has supported a range of outstanding productions, and this will be no exception bringing a uniquely Western Australian story to national and international audiences.

“I know that the community in York and in Perth will be excited about this production happening later this year and even more excited when they can go and see it at the movies when it is released.”

As stated by Regional Development Minister Don Punch:

“This touching family adventure story reflects the community spirit that we find throughout regional towns in Western Australia.

“Productions such as this bring a huge boost to those communities, for businesses through expenditure on goods and services and through local employment opportunities.

“It’s also such a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Wheatbelt as part of our diverse and uniquely Western Australian regions.”

/Public Release. View in full here.