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‘Babadook’ Director Jennifer Kent Sets Plot, Star for Follow-up ‘The Nightingale’

Babadook short film

What’s more exciting than a bold, accomplished feature debut from a director with vision and something to say? The non-rhetorical answer to that rhetorical question: The movie they make afterward.

In 2014, Jennifer Kent wowed audiences with her fully-formed horror parable The Babadook, mining the frustrations of single motherhood for chills and creating a memorable monster along the way. (Whether the Babadook is indeed homosexual remains a topic of heated debate in some extremely specific online communities, however.) Now, her next challenge will be proving that her initial success wasn’t a fluke. And today brings the news that she’ll re-prove her filmmaking bona fides with a sophomore project titled The Nightingale.

Deadline reports that as both writer and director, Kent has begun work on the period thriller set in Tasmania, 1825. The film centers on a “beautiful 21-year-old Irish convict” (Aisling Franciosi of Game of Thrones) seeking revenge for her family’s brutal murder at the hands of an amoral soldier. The Deadline item notes that she gets a helping hand from an Aboriginal tracker familiar with the lay of the land, but it also notes that Franciosi’s major costar will be The Hunger Games alum Sam Claflin. Logic would suggest that Claflin will play the object of our heroine’s murderous rage, while one of the other announced costars (including Damon Herriman, Ewen Leslie, Harry Greenwood, local Aboriginal Djuki Mala dancer Baykali Ganambarr and East Arnhem Land indigenous model Magnolia Maymuru) will most likely portray her guide.

Aside from Claflin’s disastrous performance in Me Before You as the lone red flag, all early signs skew positive for this project. The premise sounds something like Nicolas Roeg’s excellent Walkabout, we can look forward to Kent’s visual treatment of the Outback’s endless natural expanses, and there’s guaranteed to be a little bloodshed, too. Two, please!

‘The Babadook’ Review

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