Streaming service Stan Australia has announced a new film will be made about one of Australia’s darkest chapters: the Port Arthur massacre, which took place in Tasmania in 1996.
The movie will tell the story of Martin Bryant, who, at the age of 29, murdered 35 people and wounded 23, in one of the world’s most devastating shooting sprees. Bryant was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and is still behind bars today.
NITRAM – “Martin” backwards – will be directed by Justin Kurzel, who’s also behind Snowtown, the movie based on the South Australian serial killer John Bunting, and another Stan flick: True History of the Kelly Gang.
The cast includes American actor Caleb Landry Jones, as well as Judy Davis, Essie Davis and Anthony LaPaglia.
The film is currently three weeks into production in Geelong, Victoria. The Age is reporting production decided to shoot in Victoria because they feared the subject matter “would still prove too sensitive” to be filmed in Tasmania. The same was said to be the case with why they picked an American actor over an Aussie one to play Bryant – it was out of respect for the residents in and near Port Arthur.
Also, reportedly, the movie won’t ever refer to the killer by name, nor will it show the actual murdering. Instead, it’ll focus only on the events leading up to the day.
Though made for Stan, NITRAM will debut at the Melbourne International Film Festival next year and then hit cinemas, before being released onto the streaming service.
Written by Sangeeta Kocharekar, an American-born, Sydney-based writer at MTV. Photos from her pre-COVID-19 days as a travel writer are here.