Exclusive: ‘Legend of Ben Hall’ Director Begins Filming Aussie Revenger Thriller ‘The Cost’

Photo by Melville Quilliam. Courtesy of Two Tone Pictures.

The Legend of Ben Hall (2016) director Matthew Holmes has begun filming his next picture, The Cost, an Australian psychological revenge thriller now in production in Victoria.

Taking place across a 48-hour period, The Cost tells a harrowing tale of vengeance that spirals desperately out of control. The plot follows two ordinary men who, intent on dispensing their own brutal form of justice, abduct a felon who committed a horrific crime years before.

Holmes, who also penned the screenplay with Gregory Moss, is promising a fresh take on the classic revenge motif.

“While revenge is a common theme in movies, it’s mostly presented as a positive thing. When our hero violently dispenses with the villain, we clap and cheer with satisfaction. I wanted to make a cinematic experience that goes in the opposite direction, one that explores the emotional and mental consequences of carrying out a brutal act of vengeance in the name of justice.”

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Speaking exclusively with Screen Realm, Holmes contemplates the question of what influences he has drawn upon to create his latest film.

“I can’t point to any direct influence for this film. There’s nothing quite like it that I can equate it to. This has been the most creatively liberated film I’ve ever attempted. I’ve thrown off all thought to genre conventions or audience expectations and given me and my team the freedom to tell this story exactly as we want to. It’s all about trusting our gut instincts as filmmakers. It feels very risky but that’s where possibility lies.”

With two uniquely historical Australian feature films under his belt, Holmes was eager to assert that The Cost is unlike anything he’s made before.

“I know most people think of me as that ‘Australian history’ filmmaker – but the truth is, I love all genres and never want to get stuck doing only one. I gravitate to stories I’d like to see; the genre or time period doesn’t matter. Having said that, making a film set in the present day is easier on my budget!”

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Boasting an impressive trio of players, The Cost‘s cast features Jordan Fraser-Trumble (The Legend of Ben Hall, West of Sunshine), Damon Hunter (The Party Bus, Neighbours) and Kevin Dee (Underbelly) in headlining roles. And with a reputable ensemble of support, the remaining cast includes Joshua Jaeger (Twin Rivers), Cait Spiker (Romper Stomper 2018), Sotiris Tzelios (Sweet Country), Nicole Pastor (Water Horse), Adam Willson (The Legend of Ben Hall), Nadia Fragnito (The Artifice) and Mark Redpath (Quanta).

Following their multi award-winning collaboration on the Australian historical film The Legend of Ben Hall, The Cost is the second co-production between Holmes’ Two Tone Pictures and producer Russell Cunningham (of RLC Motion Picture Entertainment). The film also includes Adam La Rosa of La Rosa Productions (Rage) as executive producer, alongside Rohan Muggleton, Alexander Moss, Ross Angelo and Joshua Little.

The film will also showcase the work of emerging cinematographer Cable Williams (The Party Bus), with a score by composer Ronnie Minder, who’s work on The Legend of Ben Hall made the official short-list for an Academy Award (Oscar®) Nomination in 2017 for Best Original Score. Also attached is Costume Designer Oriana Merullo (2067, Never Too Late) and Production Designer Lufan Chi in her feature film debut.

Holmes’ The Legend of Ben Hall, an Australian bushranger western based on the real-life Gardiner–Hall gang of the 1800s, was released in over 22 countries and received numerous awards, including Best Feature and Director at the Australian Screen Industry Network Awards.

The Cost has an anticipated release of mid-2022.

Photo by Melville Quilliam. Courtesy of Two Tone Pictures.
Photo by Melville Quilliam. Courtesy of Two Tone Pictures.
Photo by Melville Quilliam. Courtesy of Two Tone Pictures.

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Glenn Cochrane resides in Melbourne and is on the board of the Australian Film Critics Association. He is the creator of FakeShemp.Net, contributes to various publications, and works creatively with American director Albert Pyun. He recently hosted a series of promotional videos for CBSi and Netflix, and has a weakness for 80's cinema. You can find him on IMDB.