True Blood star Ryan Kwanten is headed to the big screen, as it’s confirmed Australian classic children’s character Blinky Bill is being made into a movie. Kwanten will have to drop Jason Stackhouse’s drawling southern accent as he steps up to play the lead role of the mischievous koala.
Barbara Stephen is producing the film with local filmmakers Flying Bark Productions (the animation studio that created the first Blinky Bill movie back in 1992), and she couldn’t be prouder:
The Blinky Bill Movie will introduce a whole new generation to Blinky Bill and his Australian bush friends. We are so excited that we’ve been able to attract such an impressive cast to the project.
In the film, Blinky is searching for his missing father – a quest that takes him far from his hometown of Greenpatch and out across the Australian Outback. He’ll be joined by many familiar faces (including his best friend and adopted sister Nutsy, played by fellow Aussie Robin McLeavy (Hell on Wheels, Super Fun Night)), but there are plenty of new friends along the way. The supporting cast listing some of the biggest names in Australian film and TV. Expect to hear actors like Toni Collette, Barry Humphries, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh, Deborah Mailman and Barry Otto popping up in the CGI masterpiece, joined by British actor Rufus Sewell.
Technically, Blinky Bill was created by a New Zealander. The naughty koala first appeared as an illustration in a 1933 book, Brooke Nicholls’ Jacko – the Broadcasting Kookaburra, but his creator, New Zealand-born Australian author Dorothy Wall, decided he deserved his own time in the spotlight. Since then, Blinky has appeared in TV series, comic strips, postage stamps, computer games, and even an animated feature film in 1992. His books have never been out of print in Australia.
The Blinky Bill Movie, announced today at the Australian International Movie Convention on the Gold Coast, will be released next year.