Inspired by true events, “He Ain’t Heavy” follows a desperate sister who kidnaps her beloved brother to save him from addiction.
George is a fast-rising star. With credits already including “Animal Kingdom,” “The Kid” and “Mortal Engines,” she is now coming off the back of Patricia Arquette’s upcoming directorial debut “Gonzo Girl” and recently starred alongside Cate Blanchett, Kevin Klein and Lesley Manville in Alfonso Cuaron’s new thriller “Disclaimer” for Apple TV. She is the central figure in “He Ain’t Heavy” playing daughter to Scacchi’s character and sister to Corlett’s.
Corlett (“The Dry,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”) assumes the role of Max, a troubled son and brother at the centre of the tense family drama. He can be seen in the second season of the global hit Netflix series “Vikings: Valhalla,” which debuted among the top ten streaming titles across the platform for the second consecutive year and is now streaming worldwide.
Scacchi has a stellar career with credits including “White Mischief,” “The Browning Version” and “The Player.”
The feature film was born from Vincent Smith’s proof of concept short “I’m Not Hurting You,” which premiered at Sydney Film Festival and screened at numerous local and international film festivals including Flickerfest and Austin Film Festival.
The feature is produced by Jess Parker of Perth-based No Labels Films, a long-time collaborator with Vincent Smith and who previously produced his “I’m Not Hurting You” and another of his shorts “Featherweight.” The new film is the first of several long-form screen projects currently in development.
The production will start shooting Jan. 23 in Perth’s south-eastern suburbs, with major production investment from Screenwest and Lotterywest. Parker and Vincent Smith were the 2021 recipients of Screenwest’s West Coast Visions Initiative, with the film project receiving A$750,000 ($524,000) of production funding.
Bonsai Films will distribute the completed film in selected cinemas across Australia. Bonsai’s Jonathan Page also assumes an executive producer role.
“‘He Ain’t Heavy’ provides a canvas to interrogate a real-world dilemma many families wrestle with – the price we are prepared to pay for love; a question without a simple answer,” said writer-director Vincent Smith.
“Having Leila perform alongside her mother is something very special to us. Leila, Greta and Sam bring such an honest and personal connection to our story, portraying a family whose desperation to hold onto each other has left visible claw marks,” said Parker.
“We’re thrilled to see ‘He Ain’t Heavy’ enter principal photography next week, kicking off what looks to be a bumper year of production in West Australia,” said Screenwest CEO Rikki Lea Bestall.
(Pictured, L-R: Leila George, Sam Corlett, Greta Scacchi)
Best of Variety