“UNDERGROUND” DIRECTOR ROBERT CONNOLLY TO DIRECT THE SHIPKILLER BASED ON THE NOVEL BY JUSTIN SCOTT – Vahalla Entertainment and Arenamedia to produce

Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment and Australian-based film company Arenamedia announced today at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) that the companies will produce THE SHIPKILLER, based on New York Times best-selling author Justin Scott’s epic revenge thriller, with Australian filmmaker Robert Connolly (Balibo) attached to direct.  Hurd will produce for Valhalla with Connolly producing via Arenamedia. Henry Morrison (The Bourne Trilogy) and Andrew Myer are executive producing.

THE SHIPKILLER, a novel of love and revenge set in the high seas, is considered to be one of the best maritime thrillers ever written. Described as “an odyssey of revenge that embraces the distant waters of the world, from the titanic storms of the South Atlantic to the oil-slicked reaches of the Persian Gulf,” the novel follows one man determined to win at sea the justice he has been denied on land. Acclaimed author Robert Ludlum once called the novel “absolutely riveting, a marvelously taut, brilliantly told story of revenge and the sea and the dark forces that can shape the human condition.”

“This is an extraordinary novel that was almost made in 1979 with Sean Connery and David Niven, and I am ecstatic to be working with the remarkably talented Gale Anne Hurd to finally bring this brilliant novel and tale to life,” said Connolly.  “Ever since seeing Phillip Noyce’s terrific DEAD CALM, I had wanted to find the perfect thriller at sea and this is surely it.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be producing this film with one of Australia’s most talented directors, Robert Connolly,” said Hurd.   “He has demonstrated his incredible dramatic range with such compelling films as Balibo and now with Underground. I’m confident Robert will make a truly powerful film from Justin Scott’s remarkable novel.”

Connolly is currently at TIFF with the riveting thriller UNDERGROUND. Set in 1980’s Melbourne, UNDERGROUND focuses on the teenage years of one of the most controversial figures of modern times — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (played by newcomer Alex Williams in his first major role). Written and directed by Connolly, the film also stars Anthony LaPaglia (Lantana), Academy Award nominee Rachel Griffiths (Hilary and Jackie), and Laura Wheelwright (Animal Kingdom).  The acquisition title, which made its world premiere over the weekend, is being presented to U.S. and international buyers for the first time.

Connolly is represented by Jennifer Levine at Untitled.

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