Screen Australia has today announced celebrated Australian actor Hugo Weaving will star in M4M, an ensemble romantic drama and contemporary take on Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure, set within Melbourne’s commission flats.
Reuniting the creative team behind the critically acclaimed 2015 feature Pawno – Damian Hill and Paul Ireland – the film has secured principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund. Film Victoria provided development and production support for this feature.
M4M tells the unlikely love story of a modern Muslim woman Jaiwara and local loner musician Claudio, set amongst the tense background of Melbourne’s housing estates. Looming large is local crime figure Duke (played by Weaving) and his rival Farouk, Jaiwara’s gangster brother.
Damian Hill and Paul Ireland are producing the film and have co-written the script, Ireland will again be taking on directing duties. Ian Kirk, Bryce Menzies, Tony Nagle and Clement Dunn are acting as executive producers. Bankside Films are attached for international sales.
Director Paul Ireland said: “The script for me is always the most important part of the process, the foundation of everything. Damian and I have spent the last two years pouring a lot of love, laughter, frustration, care and emotion into the writing of M4M, resulting in what I feel is a very relevant emotive story and world that deserves to be shared and shown. A world that is often ignored as people are happy to sit in ignorance and let the sun shine or the rain fall, thinking it doesn’t affect them.”
“I am at the moment working with Mcleod Casting putting together a very interesting and diverse cast to bring this story to life and am so thrilled that one of the world’s greatest actors, Hugo Weaving, has decided to play a key role.”
M4M will be Hill and Ireland’s feature follow-up to Pawno, which garnered six AACTA award nominations including Best Original Screenplay and Best Lead Actor for Hill, three Australian Film Critics Association Awards nominations, five Film Critics Circle of Australia Award nominations and the Jury Grand Prix at the Rencontres Internationales du Cinema des Antipodes in 2016.
“Damian Hill and Paul Ireland proved themselves as film makers with their low budget feature Pawno, and M4M is their chance to tell a story on a bigger budget. The script for M4M is exceptional and the result of much hard work and skill over a long period. This is a contemporary Australian reimagining of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure that is authentic, exciting and inclusive.” said Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia.
“To be able to attract Hugo Weaving, one of this country’s greatest actors to the film is an absolute coup and we have high hopes for what Hill and Ireland will deliver,” Caplan continued.
MIFF Premiere Fund Executive Producer, Mark Woods said: “Taking such a classic tale and transforming it into a relevant contemporary context reflecting multicultural Melbourne is a perfect fit for the MIFF Premiere Fund’s 2019 slate of stories that need telling.”
Casting for M4M is currently underway, with filming to commence in Melbourne in September.