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It's hard to imagine what our summer movie landscapes would have looked like without the talent pool from Australia. What would X-Men be without Hugh Jackman? The Dark Knight without Heath Ledger? Pirates of the Carribean without Geoffrey Rush? Thor without Chris Hemsworth? Or Iron Man 3 without Guy Pearce? Australian actors have become an integral part of Hollywood in blockbusters like as well as prestige pictures, from Cate Blanchett's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Lord of the Rings and Elizabeth to Mia Wasikowska'a Jane Eyre, Albert Nobbs or Lawless. But some of Australia's brightest stars have joined together for a sprawling collaboration called, The Turning.
Based on the book of short stories by celebrated Aussie novelist Rim Winton, The Turning will unfold seventeen stories, each directed by a different helmer, that will link and overlap to reveal the turning points in peoples' lives. Blanchett and Wasikowska will be making their directorial debuts, helming chapters called "Reunion" and "Long, Clear View" respectively. Blanchett's Lord of the Rings co-star David Wenham makes his mark as a filmmaker with "Commission." The Snowtown Murders helmer Justin Kurzel tackles "Bone McPharlin's Moll," and celebrated cinematographer Warwick Thornton helms "A Big World."
Also on the directors' slate are Marieka Walsh ("Ash Wednesday"), Stephen Page ("Sand"), Ashlee Page ("On Her Knees"), Ian Meadows ("Defender"), Claire McCarthy ("The Turning"), Academy Award nominated animated short maker Anthony Lucas ("Damaged Goods"), Yaron Lifschitz ("Immunity"), Rhys Graham ("Small Mercies"), Shaun Gladwell ("Family"), Robert Connolly ("Aquifer"), Jub Clerc ("Abbreviation"), Tony Ayres ("Cockleshell"), and Jonathan auf der Heide ("Fog").
Blanchett will also appear in the film, as will such noteworthy names as Miranda Otto (War of the Worlds), Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) and Hugo Weaving (Cloud Atlas). Stories told within The Turning range from a following a pair of brothers whose relationship is in dire need of repair, to the tale of a battered wife and mother who becomes fixated on the seemingly happy lives of her neighbors, and the transformation of a boy attracted to older women to a middle-aged man trying to make sense of his past. This setup means different directors will be telling different parts of a character's narrative, making The Turning an enticing cinematic experiment. The book has been praised for its raw emotion and intriguing insights into people's innermost thoughts and motivations. It will be interesting to see how 17 directors will express these ideas, and whether or not such a complicated collaboration can make for a cohesive and compelling feature film.
The Turning will make its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival next month. It's unknown when this experimental offering will make its way Stateside. For more on The Turning, check out the film's Facebook page, where you can find pics like this this first look at Brenna Harding in Ayres' contribution, "Cockleshell."