Bremer Bay in WA’s Great Southern is a long way from Hollywood, but take a walk down the main drag over the next few weeks and you might bump into Eric Bana. The Chopper star is in town with fellow Aussie actors Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Radha Mitchell (Olympus Has Fallen) to shoot director Robert Connolly’s adaptation of Tim Winton’s beloved novella, Blueback. Connolly’s last collaboration with Bana, The Dry, just surpassed a staggering $17 million at the Australian box office, and the best mates are hoping lightning will strike twice. “It’s just this long-term collaboration that we’ve built and I think it’s exciting to bring to Australian audiences, when we finish this film, another big work of cinema that Eric and I have worked on as friends,” Connolly said to The West Live in his only interview with the media. The film centres on Abby (in the book it’s a boy named Abel), who befriends a giant groper while diving, with Wasikowska playing her as an adult and newcomers Ariel Donoghue and Ilsa Fogg playing younger versions of the character. Connolly, who also had significant commercial success with the 2014 family film Paper Planes, said the film’s important environmental themes made the Great Southern and Ningaloo the perfect backdrop. “We’re filming now, and we’ll shoot right through to Easter, and then, post-Easter, there’ll be a shoot in Exmouth,” Connolly revealed. “It’s a credit to how WA has handled COVID that we’re able to make this film in such a positive way ... and filming down in Bremer Bay is incredible.” It’s fair to say the history of Tim Winton adaptations is a chequered one, with last year’s Dirt Music a notable lowlight, but Connolly, who previously adapted The Turning, a 2004 collection of short stories by the WA author, is up for the challenge. “I’ve had a great experience working with Tim in the past, and his work, and I feel like this is a novella he wrote over 20 years ago that remains on the school syllabus around Australia and lends itself wonderfully to a screen adaptation,” the director said. “It’s been test run out there, and young people for several generations have really loved it, so it’s exciting to have the chance to adapt it.” Blueback has received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest, Lotterywest and the State Government’s WA Regional Film Fund.