Geoffrey Rush joins musical cast

Rachel Perkins adapted story and will direct

SYDNEY -- Geoffrey Rush will add the role of missionary priest to his repertoire, after signing to join the cast of indigenous musical "Bran Nue Dae," producers said Monday.

Rush will co-star with aboriginal actor Ernie Dingo and Australian musicians Missy Higgins and Dan Sultan in what he calls a "kick arse road movie."

The film, set in Broome in tropical northwest Australia, is a coming-of-age musical comedy that celebrates family, forgiveness and aboriginal reconciliation.

Rachel Perkins adapted for the screen and its creator Jimmy Chi. Perkins will direct and will have cinematographer Andrew Lesnie behind the camera.

Perkins, whose previous films include "Radiance" and "One Night the Moon" has her landmark documentary series "First Australians" is screening here on SBS.

Producers are Robyn Kershaw and Graeme Isaac; Stephen Page, artistic director of the indigenous dance company, Bangarra Dance Theatre is the films choreographer and Omnilab Media's Christopher Mapp, Matthew Street, Jason Moody and David Whealy are executive producing.

"Bran Nue Dae" is being funded by state agencies ScreenWest and Film Victoria, federal agency, Screen Australia, the Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Omnilab Media.

Local distribution is by Transmission Films and Bankside Films is handling international sales.
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