We are gradually moving closer toward seeing The Water Diviner – a war drama that is the highly anticipated narrative feature directorial debut of Academy Award winner, Russell Crowe. Having been packaged for sale at this year’s Cannes Film Festival by WME Global, The Weinstein Company have apparently offered $4 million and a wide release for the film, on the basis of 12 minutes of footage presented by Crowe himself.
The film, written by Andrew Knight (Rake) with first timer Andrew Anastasios, follows a grieving father who travels to Turkey in search of his three sons – all missing in action after the devastating Battle Of Gallipoli in World War I. The battle, which took place between April 1915 and January 1916, followed attempts by Allied Forces to secure the Dardanelles – a strait that constituted a sea route to the Russian Empire. It was the first campaign of World War I to cause major casualties among both Australian and New Zealand forces – who had combined to create the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Vast swathes of Australians and New Zealanders died in the battle – which gave rise to the annual national remembrance, ANZAC Day (every April 25).
While Crowe stars in the role of the bereaved father, he is joined by Jai Courtney (A Good Day To Die Hard) as a soldier tasked with the job of identifying the dead. Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion), Isabel Lucas (Red Dawn), Jacqueline McKenzie (The 4400)and Damon Herriman (Justified) also star, while the team of executive producers boasts Brett Ratner (Hercules) among their number.
The prospect of Russell Crowe finally taking the helm of a film is an exciting one. He has been working on TV and film sets for over forty years – watching and learning from such legends as Sam Raimi, Curtis Hanson, Michael Mann, Taylor Hackford, Ridley Scott, Ron Howard, Peter Weir, Tom Hooper, Zack Snyder and Darren Aronofsky. That’s, like, the film school of anyone’s dreams. Has he been able to decant his enviable education into a worthy debut of his own? He has, in the past, directed and co-directed music-related documentaries and videos, but this will be his first time behind the camera of a narrative feature. The noises coming from Cannes seem to be resoundingly positive and, with an offer from Crowe’s Master And Commander collaborators The Weinstein Company on the table, we should soon be testing out The Water Diviner for ourselves.