Geoffrey Rush joins aboriginal musical

Rachel Perkins adapted story and will direct

SYDNEY -- Geoffrey Rush is adding missionary priest to his resume, signing on to the cast of the 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."

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

Rachel Perkins, who also adapted Jimmy Chi's creation for the screen, is directing. Andrew Lesnie is on board as cinematographer.

Perkins' previous efforts include the films "Radiance" and "One Night the Moon" and the landmark documentary series "First Australians."

The film is being produced by Robyn Kershaw and Graeme Isaac. Stephen Page, artistic director of the indigenous dance company Bangarra Dance Theatre, is the 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 being handled by Transmission Films and Bankside Films is dealing with international sales.