Film News

"Tomorrow" brings directing debut for screenwriter

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - “Australia” co-writer Stuart Beattie is readying his directorial debut, an adaptation of the young-adult novel “Tomorrow, When the War Began.”

Beattie also wrote the screenplay for the Aussie-centric production.

“Tomorrow” is the first novel in a popular series of seven written by Australian John Marsden and published between 1994 and 1999. The Tomorrow Series, as it is known, details the insurgency efforts of a band of Aussie teenagers fighting off an enemy invasion and occupation of their homeland.

“It’s coming of age in a war zone,” said Beattie, who is casting and hiring crew for a September shoot in his native Australia. Sydney-based Omnilab Media (“Dead of Night”) is financing and will handle the sizable visual effects through its company Iloura, which worked on “Australia.”

The filmmakers plan to make a trilogy of features from the first three books and, if they’re successful, spin the next four off into a TV series.

In the age of “Twilight’s” immense success, “Tomorrow’s” youth-targeted themes and PG-13 sex and violence could appeal to the same audience. The main character is a teen named Ellie Linton, who struggles to become a fierce leader while navigating relationships with the seven other teenagers in her group.

The Tomorrow Series is one of the most popular Australian series ever published; the books are taught in schools there. Most of them were not available stateside until recently, but the filmmakers hope to persuade Scholastic to reprint them in tandem with the movie’s launch. Marsden also penned a follow-up trilogy called the Ellie Chronicles, which look at the war’s aftermath.

Beattie’s screenwriting credits include “Collateral” and “Derailed,” and he co-wrote “30 Days of Night.”