Melbourne prison to get a second life as a 15-screen cinema

Day and Date Down Under

A prison is set to become a new Palace cinema complex in 2019. Palace has been very busy announcing new cinemas and additional screens at some current complexes and has just confirmed their latest venture. The now-closed Pentridge Prison in Melbourne is to be redeveloped with a hotel, apartments, offices, a retail precinct and a 15-screen Palace cinema complex.

The Australian team of director Jocelyn Moorhouse and producer Sue Maslin, who combined for The Dressmaker, are reuniting on a new project. This film will focus on Clara Schuman, her husband Robert Schuman and her husband's new student/protégé, Johannes Brahms. The young Brahms falls deeply in love with Clara Schuman and this sets up a most interesting relationship among the trio. The film is currently in development with no casting or dates set yet.

Maslin is also involved in producing a film adaptation of the new Ann Turner novel The Lost Swimmer. In this tale, an Australian couple go to the Amalfi coast to try to resurrect their strained relationship. The wife suspects her husband of having had one or more affairs. In Italy, the husband goes missing while swimming and the wife is the main suspect in his presumed murder. Screen Australia is currently financing script development.

Helen Mirren signed up to star in Winchester as widowed firearm heiress Sarah Winchester, who starts to become haunted by the souls of those killed by the Winchester rifle. Jason Clarke will co-star as a San Francisco psychiatrist hired to help her. This supernatural thriller starts filming in Melbourne's Dockland Studios in early 2017, to be followed by location work at the Winchester House in San José, California. Identical twin brothers Peter and Michael Spierig (Daybreaker, Predestination and the latest Saw film) will direct.

Fred Schepisi starts directing Andorra, a romantic thriller that involves sex, infidelity, murder and other mysteries in Italy in April. The cast includes Clive Owen, Toni Collette, Joanna Lumley, Gillian Anderson and Riccardo Scamarcio. The Peter Cameron novel is set in the small European country of Andorra. Aussie Schepisi will do post-production on the film in Australia.

Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon have, together, optioned film rights to the bestselling novel by Australian Liane Moriarty, Truly Madly Guilty. Something terrible happens at a barbecue which the three leading female protagonists attend, but the reader does not find out what happened until two-thirds of the way through the novel. Kidman and Witherspoon are currently starring in another Moriarty adaptation, Big Little Lies, for HBO.