It’s under wraps but John Malkovich and novelist Nicholas Shakespeare want to
make a movie about Truganini, the last full-blooded Tasmanian Aboriginal, who died in 1876, to be filmed in New
Zealand (which has the infrastructure). Truganini’s story is searingly
tragic and extraordinarily dramatic and could be an Oscar winner for an
Negotiations are in the early stages and there are quite a few hurdles
to jump, not least Tasmanian Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell – who
may consider the duo to be latter day grave robbers.
Malkovich and Shakespeare have previously collaborated on The Dancer Upstairs (based
on Shakespeare’s novel of the same name), on which Malkovich made his debut as a director and Shakespeare wrote the screenplay.
Shakespeare summers on the East coast of Tasmania, spending the rest of
the year in his native England. His book, In Tasmania, was a finalist
last year in the Walkley Award for Best Non-Fiction Book.
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If the Malkovich/Shakespeare project comes off, Australian actor
Michael Siberry, who’s currently rehearsing as King Arthur in broadway
hit Spamalot could be cast
as George Augustus Robinson, Protector of the Aborigines, who possibly
had a sexual relationship with Truganini.