There's huge news this week for fans of Miss Fisher, who have been waiting for nearly a year for the word that work would begin on a feature film. On Monday, the Hollywood trade paper Variety announced the film Miss Fisher & The Crypt of Tears was indeed set for filmdom, based on the press release from production company Every Cloud Productions:
Essie Davis (Game of Thrones) returns in the eponymous lead role as the glamorous private detective, The Hon. Phryne Fisher, whose exploits in 1920s Melbourne, Australia, lead her to murder, mystery and mayhem from London to British Palestine. Essie will be joined by her co-stars from the series including Nathan Page as Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, Miriam Margolyes as Aunt Prudence and Ashleigh Cummings as her loyal assistant and maid Dorothy ‘Dot’ Collins. Ashleigh will be seen in the upcoming international feature Goldfinch.
This may seem a little odd to fans, that Variety is only reporting on this now when we've all known the film has been working towards the big screen since last summer. Many contributed to the Kickstarter campaign as well. For those who haven't, you still can. The production reopened the Kickstarter this month, not because they need the money (though certainly everyone could use more money) but so that fans who might have missed out on pledging for some of the prize packs could get in on the action. There's also an Indigogo campaign, which will remain open until June 19th, so head over and check to see what's still available. And don't worry, Variety acknowledged the Kickstarter, calling it "an extraordinarily successful crowd-funding campaign."
When it comes to the Hollywood trades, when a movie puts out an official press release declaring their film a go, it's a sign that pre-production is getting underway. (It's a little like an engaged couple posting bans in their local newspaper.) Moreover, the announcement confirms a start date for filming. As I explained last year, pre-production for a film is usually a 12-15 week process. From the looks of it, Every Cloud is giving themselves extra time. They will begin shooting in Morocco and Melbourne, Australia, beginning in October of this year.
The press release also confirms that the movie will be helmed by Tony Tilse, who directed the majority of the Miss Fisher episodes over its three-season run. Speaking to Australia's IF, Tilse said last month that he was looking forward to taking Miss Fisher to the next level.
The line between cinema and television has blurred. It’s about getting the emotions right, layered with some great visuals. With Miss Fisher we will have a great juggling act: striking the right balance between appealing to those who love the series and those who have never watched it and want to be entertained in a cinema.
The Every Cloud press release also has our first synopsis of the film's plot:
The film opens with the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher rescuing Shirin Abbas, a young Bedouin woman, who has been thrown into jail in British Mandated Palestine, for making trouble at a time of colonial unrest. After a perilous escape from Jerusalem, she rejoins Shirin as a fellow guest in the home of Lord and Lady Lofthouse, for the London ‘season’ and she pledges to help her right a wrong and discover the truth about the Crypt of Tears - an ancient crypt rumoured to lie somewhere beneath the rolling sands of the Negev Desert.
Every Cloud's Fiona Eaggers, who is part of the producing team, sounded pleased as punch that Miss Fisher & The Crypt of Tears was getting off the ground. She described the coming film thusly:
'Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears’ will have the witty intrigue of ‘Indiana Jones,’ the opulent style of a Merchant Ivory production, and the feminist fun of ‘Thelma and Louise.' The legions of Miss Fisher fans from around the world have been eagerly waiting for news of Phryne’s next grand adventure. We are thrilled that she will be taking the leap to the big screen and with this fabulous new international murder mystery story.
Sounds like exactly what fans are waiting for. We'll be bringing you more news on Miss Fisher & The Crypt of Tears once filming begins. And be sure to check our local PBS listings to catch when Miss Fisher episodes from the first three seasons are airing.