Claire Forlani, Ann Cusack and Marama Corlett have been cast as the leads in The Three Lucias, an Australian-produced mystery drama which is set and will be wholly shot in Malta.
The writer-director is Sandra Sciberras, whose parents hail from Malta. It’s her fourth feature following Max’s Dreaming, Caterpillar Wish and Surviving Georgia.
The producer is David Redman, whose credits include Charlie & Boots, Salute, Till Human Voices Wake Us, You and Your Stupid Mate and Strange Bedfellows.
The plot follows Tony, a guy with a colourful past who is about to return home with the young daughter he didn’t know he had until her mother Lucia died. His daughter is reluctant to leave and forms an attachment to a movie star with her own secrets. Over three days of Easter their lives intertwine with two other women called Lucia.
Forlani (Meet Joe Black, The Rock, Basquiat) will play Silent Lucia, who has walled herself into a life of suffering that only her love for her son can free her from.
Corlett (The Devil’s Double, Disney’s upcoming Maleficent with Angelina Jolie) is cast as Pregnant Lucia, who thinks she is going mad and is trying to uncover why her mother did before it is too late.
Cusack (The Informant, Masters of Sex, Private Practice) is the movie star.
Screen Australia has confirmed the film qualifies for the producer offset, Redman tells IF, adding that the DOP, editor and composer, all yet to be signed, will be Australian. Development has been funded by Film Victoria and by Australian-born, Berlin-based financier Felix Snow.
Redman says preliminary scenes will be shot in Malta this Easter during the annual festival involving Pregnant Lucia and two children who are yet to be cast. He says the male lead could be Australian, English or American.
He aims to start principal photography in August or September, funded via a combination of public and private investment from Australia and Malta. The Malta Film Commission is supporting the project. Redman says he’s had offers from Australian distributors and is having discussions with international sales agents.
Sciberras says, “Growing up in Melbourne, Australia in the late 70s was interesting enough but being the only Australian born in an otherwise extended Maltese family was even more interesting, hence my fascination for the Maltese culture ever since. I was eleven when I visited Malta for the first time and even then it had left a strong impression, one that I could never quite shake off. Malta had not made any films that captured character or life the way the French, Italians or Spanish filmmakers had done.
“Six years ago I travelled to Malta with the intention of writing a film that helped me understand some of the complexities, uniqueness and richness the country and its people offered. The embryonic life of The Three Lucias screenplay began on the trip home.
“The three stories that make up The Three Lucias represent the part medieval and part modern world that these characters struggle against. The three stories come together in subtle ways through the character of Tony, a fish out of water but are ultimately united by their quest to survive as a parent when the ultimate challenges are upon them.
“Each story represents the struggle that parenthood throws us and the message in the film is a clear one; no matter how hard it gets only love can get us through.”