Netflix has revealed production for Trent Dalton’s iconic Australian novel Boy Swallows Universe has begun, with the streamer releasing the first images of its all-star cast on set. Filming will take place in Brisbane, with a number of big names also joining the crew behind the scenes.
The 8 part-limited series will screen globally on Netflix and will star Travis Fimmel (Vikings) as Lyle Orlik, Simon Baker (The Mentalist) as Robert Bell, Phoebe Tonkin (Babylon) will play the role of Frances Bell. The roles of the young Eli and Gus Bell will be played by Felix Cameron (Penguin Bloom) appearing as Eli Bell, and Lee Tiger Halley (The Heights) as Gus Bell.
The book, set in a rough working-class suburb of Brisbane in 1983, follows Eli Bell, an articulate 12-year-old boy, and his mute brother Gus. A synopsis for the novel reads: “Eli Bell’s life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail and his stepdad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim — a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes — who watches over Eli and August, Eli’s silent genius of an older brother… A story of brotherhood, true love, family, and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be.”
Other cast members include; Christopher James Baker (True Detective) as Ivan Kroll, HaiHa Le (Hungry Ghost) as Bich Dang, Deborah Mailman (Total Control) as Poppy Birkbeck, Ben O’Toole (Hacksaw Ridge) as Teddy, Zachary Wan (Never Too Late) as Darren Dang, Millie Donaldson and Eloise Rothfield will play the roles of 17 and 13-year-old Shelley Huffman, respectively.
John Collee (Master and Commander, Happy Feet) is adapting the novel for the streaming platform, with Australia’s Brouhaha Entertainment joining forces with Anonymous Content and Chapter One. Directing the series are Bharat Nulluri (Spooks, Hustle), Jocelyn Moorhouse (Proof) and Kim Mordaunt (The Rocket) with Joel Edgerton (The Gift, Boy Erased, The King) serving as one of the key executive producers.