Australian streaming company Stan has announced a new Original feature set to premiere on the service in 2021: NITRAM, a potentially controversial film looking at Martin Bryant, the man responsible for the murders of 35 people at Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996.
The film is currently in production and is being directed by Aussie filmmaker Justin Kurzel, who broke out with 2011’s Snowtown (based on South Australian serial killer John Bunting), directed Michael Fassbender in Macbeth and Assassin’s Creed, and last year delivered Stan Original True History of the Kelly Gang.
The script comes from Shaun Grant, whose credits include Kurzel’s Snowtown and True History of the Kelly Gang, Jasper Jones, Berlin Syndrome and upcoming Naomi Watts-starring Aus-US production Penguin Bloom.
Set to play the lead character in NITRAM (the working title, which is Martin spelled backwards) is Caleb Landry Jones, an American actor known for playing intense, off-kilter roles in films such as Get Out, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Antiviral. The cast also includes Judy Davis (The Dressmaker) and Anthony LaPaglia (Lantana), on board as his mother and father, and Essie Davis (True History of the Kelly Gang).
The Sydney Morning Herald has shed a little more light on the project, reporting that the film will not name Bryant and will be using fictional names for the other characters based on real figures. Furthermore, “the film does not depict any of the murders, but rather focuses on the events leading up to the day in a bid to understand the factors that led to the development of a serial killer.”
Production is currently taking place in Geelong, Victoria. Producers reportedly chose not to film in Tasmania due to the sensitive subject matter for the state.
The tragic 1996 incident saw 29-at-the-time Bryant embark on a shooting spree that would leave 35 people dead and 23 injured. Bryant was handed 35 life sentences, without the possibility of parole.
Said Stan Chief Content Officer Nick Forward: “Stan is pleased to again collaborate with Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant and we have complete faith in the NITRAM team’s creative vision and ability to handle the film’s subject matter with sensitivity and respect.”