Highly Spirited in partnership with Like A Photon Creative (LAPC) and Screen Queensland has announced the lineup of Aussia screen royalty set to star in the adventure-packed animated feature film Scarygirl, which is currently in production in Queensland, Australia.
Joining the likes of Jillian Nguyen (Barons, Clickbait, Hungry Ghosts, Loveland), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Peter Rabbit), Anna Torv (The Newsreader, Fringe, Mindhunter, Secret City), Rob Collins (Top End Wedding, Cleverman, Secret City), Tim Minchin (Back to the Outback, Matilda, Upright), Deb Mailman (The Sapphires, Total Control, The Secret Life of Us), Remy Hii (Spider Man: Far from Home, Arcane, Crazy Rich Asians), Mark Coles Smith (Mystery Road, Sweet As, Halifax: Retribution) and Liv Hewson (Yellowjackets, Let It Snow), 2022 Australian of the Year and tennis luminary Dylan Alcott will be making his big screen voice acting debut in the unique and colorful world of Scarygirl.
Scarygirl follows Arkie (Nguyen), a young girl with a talent for technology and a tentacle-like arm, who was raised in secret by her kind but cautious father, Blister (Collins), a rare Giant Octopus with the ability to regenerate life. When her father is kidnapped for his prized abilities and their idyllic world is threatened by a sudden loss of sunlight, Arkie sets out on a journey to the City of Light: a dazzling, modern city controlled by the mysterious Dr. Maybee (Neill). As she tries to find Blister, Arkie discovers that all is not what it seems and this incredible new world is one of great danger, and full of answers to questions she never knew she had.
While contemporary issues of climate crisis and genetic engineering are at the fore of the plot, the themes of Scarygirl are simple and timeless: identity, being ‘proud of your difference’, not judging people by how they look, friendship, love, and family. Through stunning, handcrafted 3D animation, the story of Arkie and her differing abilities will captivate audiences around the world. It is set for delivery in June 2023.
Based on the bestselling vinyl toy range and acclaimed wordless graphic novel by Australian author-illustrator Nathan Jurevicius, Scarygirl tells a layered fantasy story, filled with light and dark adventures, eccentric characters and a deep secret. It has since been released as a Flash game that attracted 1.4 million players in the first eight months of release. Inspired by the original Flash game, the groundbreaking Scarygirl free roam global VR experience was picked up by Zero Latency and is currently playable in over 18 countries and 33 locations worldwide.
Setting out to build a rich CGI world full of vibrant, distinct characters who ‘look and feel’ like collectable vinyl toys, animated digitally to resemble stop-motion, Scarygirl’s production team is led by creator and production designer Nathan Jurevicius (Scarygirl graphic novel, Peleda), executive producer John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, Madagascar), producer Sophie Byrne (the Oscar-winning The Lost Thing) and LAPC producers Kristen Souvlis (Mako Mermaids, Vikings: Athelstan’s Journey, Tales from Sanctuary City franchise), Nadine Bates (Balloon Barnyard, Sesame Street, Tales from Sanctuary City franchise) and Ryan Greaves.
“Scarygirl has been a collaborative project that’s carefully built a universe in numerous mediums. Nathan and I are more than excited that the feature film is in production with the dynamic and inspiring team at Like A Photon Creative in Queensland, who share our passion for this unique and visually stunning world,” said Byrne of Highly Spirited. “We are equally thrilled that the project has attracted a gifted and diverse ensemble cast, who have lent their exceptional voice talents to bring our distinctive array of characters to life.”
Souvlis, Co-Founder of LAPC, said “Like A Photon Creative is thrilled to be partnering with powerhouse producer Sophie Byrne to bring the extraordinary work of Nathan Jurevicius to the big screen. When we first saw the meticulously crafted world of Scarygirl, we knew we wanted to be the production team to bring it to life. Sophie and Nathan’s labor of love is complemented by our experience in creating character driven 3D feature films, and we are honoured to be a part of this global, Australian created property.”
The movie is directed by Ricard Cussó (Tales from Sanctuary City franchise) and co-director Tania Vincent (Tree Fu Tom, Combat Wombat), with animation production services from Brisbane-based Cosmic Dino Studio. Eclectik Vision’s Brett Thornquest and Steven Matusko are co-producers.
Alceon Entertainment Partners are financing, CAA Media Finance is representing the North American domestic sale, and Scarygirl will be distributed in Australia & New Zealand by Madman Entertainment.
“Screen Queensland is proud to support Scarygirl through our Post-Production, Digital & Visual Effects (PDV) Incentive, which is the most competitive of its kind on Australia’s east coast,” added Screen Queensland Chief Creative Officer Dr. Belinda Burns. “Like A Photon Creative is a prolific, Brisbane-based production company specializing in animated content such as Combat Wombat and Daisy Quokka: World’s Scariest Animal, which have been exported around the globe. We are thrilled to support the creative team at Like A Photon Creative and co-producers Highly Spirited to bring Scarygirl to life, and especially impressed by the quality of on-screen and off-screen talent.”
Highly Spirited | Like A Photon Creative | Screen Queensland