Stuart Beattie Adapts Mega-Successful Australian Book Series

Who knew that Australia had it's own Red Dawn? According to THR, Australia screenwriter Stuart Beattie (who also wrote Collateral, GI Joe and the story for Pirates of the Caribbean) is going to write and direct an adaptation of the novel Tomorrow, When the War Began. The film, which he calls "coming of age in a war zone," will be his directorial debut. The book is the first in a seven-novel young adult series by John Marsden which has become quite popular in Australia. The basic story follows an insurgent band of Australian teenagers who fight against an enemy invasion and occupation of their land. So, yeah, kinda like Red Dawn, not that the John Milius picture and its remake have any lock on the idea of kids fighting the guerrilla fight for their country.

The film, which is set to shoot in September in Australia, is the first of a planned film trilogy, which could then spin off into a TV series adapting the rest of the series' novels. The film will be a totally Australian production — possibly the first commercial Aussie action movie since the Mad Max series, Beattie suggests.

But it's not just an analog of the movie that had kids screaming 'Wolverines!' through the '80s. "I don't want to make Red Dawn," said Beattie, before launching into a potentially apt comparison. "Do you remember when The Full Monty and Striptease were coming out together? They came out within months as the exact same premise — the parent strips for money so they can see their kid. But completely different. One was all flash and rockin' body, and the other was completely the opposite, of total insecurity about getting up onstage. We're more like the Full Monty version."

The film could also appeal to young women that might not be into Red Dawn, as Tomorrow's protagonist is female. Ellie Linton is the leader of her guerrilla band, and deals with her own struggle to lead the group. The set of seven novels, published from 1994 to 1999, also spawned another TV-ready set of sequels, the Ellie Chronicles. Those detail Ellie's attempt to rejoin regular life and deal with the psychological stress created by the war.