Ned Kelly

Justin Kurzel is keeping himself very busy these days. With Macbeth already finished and Assassin’s Creed coming up next, he’s added yet another project to his to-do list. He’s set to direct True History of the Kelly Gang, an adaptation of the novel by Peter Carey. More details on the Justin Kurzel True History of the Kelly Gang movie after the jump. 

IF reports the news. Shaun Grant, who worked with Kurzel on his debut feature The Snowtown Murders, is writing the screenplay. Joe Penhall was previously attached to write. Carey’s novel presents Kelly’s story through Kelly’s own eyes, through semi-literate language scribbled on scraps of paper.

The story centers on historical figure Ned Kelly, a notorious Australian bushranger who’s come to be regarded by many as a Robin Hood-like folk hero. Kelly’s story has been depicted onscreen many times, starting with The Story of the Kelly Gang in 1906. Notable recent tellings include 2003’s Ned Kelly (pictured above), which starred Heath Ledger as the legendary outlaw, and 1970’s Ned Kelly, which starred Mick Jagger.

Kurzel’s Macbeth premiered at Cannes this past spring to strong reviews. The film has no U.S. release date as of yet but we can likely expect to see it before the end of the year. Currently he’s getting the pieces together for the video game adaptation Assassin’s Creed, which reunites him with Macbeth stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. That one opens December 21, 2016.

“I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false.”

In True History of the Kelly Gang, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semiliterate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.

 

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