Winton's The Riders optioned for film, production starts on Dirt Music

Winton's The Riders optioned for film, production starts on Dirt Music

Two of Tim Winton’s books, The Riders and Dirt Music (both Picador), are being adapted for film.

Producer David Kajganich, of “A Bigger Splash", is set to adapt The Riders for Scott Free, of Ridley Scott’s film and TV production company. The director is yet to be confirmed, however the film will be produced by Ridley Scott, Kevin Walsh and Michael Pruss. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1995, The Riders is credited as helping Winton achieve international recognition.

Another project coming to life after a 17-year hiatus is the motion picture of Winton’s 2002 Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel Dirt Music, for which production has now begun in Western Australia. The film will star Kelly Macdonald (“No Country for Old Men”, “Boardwalk Empire”) as Georgie Jutland and Garrett Hedlund as her love interest, Luther Fox.

Directed by Gregor Jordan, the film has been adapted by Jack Thorne (“Wonder”) and will be produced by BAFTA Award winners Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey (“Brooklyn”, “An Education”) of Wildgaze Films. Angie Fielder (“Lion”). Polly Staniford of Australian-based production entity Aquarius Films, will also produce and it will be distributed by Universal Pictures Australia.

Winton, who is based in Western Australia, said of the latest optioning: “Of all my novels it always seemed to me that The Riders was by far the most cinematic, so this is very welcome news. With a screenwriter like David Kajganich and a producer like Ridley Scott, this could be a great adaptation and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

“As for Dirt Music, after 17 years, it’s nice to see this project finally coming to life. I’m not involved in this adaptation, but I’m pleased for Gregor and the crew and I wish them well. My novel was a kind of love letter to this state and its landscapes, so I’m very happy to have some very special parts of WA shown on the big screen.”

Literary agent Jenny Darling, who has represented Winton for 25 years, said: ‘I’ve never seen anything like the buzz around Tim Winton’s work at the moment. In Australia his latest novel, The Shepherd’s Hut, published in hardback, is one of the top-selling Australian books for the year and 'Breath' [the film adaptation released in 2017] has been one of the top-performing Australian films at the local box office.”