After the success of Rabbit-Proof Fence, Aussie director Phillip Noyce (who, in his non-indie moments, used to hang out with Jack Ryan) immediately went searching for another, Australia-based story to bring to the screen. He quickly settled on Dirt Music, a Booker Prize-nominated novel by Tim Winton, picked up the rights, and started the arduous task of signing stars who can both act and attract investors with the sparkly trail of Hollywood stardust they trail behind them. And, according to Variety this morning, Noyce's quest is almost at an end: He's got Rachel Weisz and Heath Ledger just inches away from signing on the dotted line.

Though Variety describes Winton's novel as being a two-character story, a look at Amazon reveals there are actually three people involved, which makes it hard to be sure exactly who Ledger is negotiating to play. The story takes place in "a remote fishing village in Western Australia," and was described by Publishers Weekly as "a tale of three characters' perilous journey into the Australian wilderness in efforts to escape and atone for their pasts." Oh good -- so it's uplifting. Weisz will play a former nurse who likes to both take risks and drink (a lot), while Ledger will be either the widowed lobster fisherman with whom she ends up living (in an arrangement that sounds more like roommates than romance) or a fish poacher in the village "who breaks the law to keep his mind from tragic memories." It's the latter character (his name is Luther, for the curious among you) who gives the story its name: His family (all of whom seem to be dead) once played country blues, AKA dirt music. Got all that?

Production on the film is entirely dependent upon Noyce's ability to track down financing, so it'll likely be quite a while before we get to see it.
categories Movies, Cinematical