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Evil Dead Rise actress Nell Fisher and Bad Sisters actor Michael Smiley are set to join Elijah Wood in Bookworm, a new family adventure comedy from New Zealand director Ant Timpson (Come to Daddy).
Fisher will play Mildred, a 12-year-old girl whose life is turned upside down when her estranged, washed-up American magician father, Strawn Wise (Wood), comes to look after her. Hoping to bond with the tween, Strawn takes Mildred on an ill-advised camping trip into the rugged New Zealand wilderness in a quest to find the mythological beast known as the Canterbury Panther, named after the region on New Zealand’s South Island.
The project will reteam Wood with Come to Daddy director Timpson and will see the Lord of the Rings actor return to New Zealand to shoot.
“In Bookworm we’re going to put him through the wringer again, except this time he’s at the mercy of a precocious 12-year-old and the rugged landscapes of the Canterbury region,” said Timpson.
Fisher stars in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Evil Dead Rise, the fifth installment in the cult horror franchise, directed by Lee Cronin. Smiley had a starring role in Apple TV+’s acclaimed Bad Sisters alongside Sharon Horgan and Anne-Marie Duff, and had supporting roles in Ben Wheatley’s Kill List and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster. His recent films include Gunpowder Milkshake and The Silent Twins.
Mister Smith Entertainment is handling international sales on Bookworm and will be shopping it to buyers at the Cannes Film Market next month. CAA Media Finance, which is arranging financing for the film, is handling U.S. rights. Rialto Distribution will distribute the film across Australia and New Zealand.
Bookworm is produced by Emma Slade, Roxi Bull, and Victoria Dabbs of Firefly Films and Mette-Marie Kongsved, and Laura Tunstall of Nowhere. It is executive produced by Steven Demmler of Talon Entertainment Finance, Blair Ward and Anders Erdén of Orogen Entertainment, and Kelly Rogers and Kevin Gordon of Rialto Distribution.
Smiley is represented by B-Side Management in the U.K. Fisher is represented by Gail Cowan Management (NZ), Untitled Entertainment (U.S.) and United Agents (U.K.). Wood is represented by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Meyer & Downs and Narrative.
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