They've just spent the weekend soaking up the surrounds of the Margaret River region as guests of CinefestOz but Bryan Brown and his director wife Rachel Ward's love affair with Western Australia will continue for another month with the pair about to start work on a World War I telemovie for the ABC, to be filmed entirely in the State.
Production begins in Perth next Monday on the 90 minute feature An Accidental Soldier, about a young Australian man who deserts from Normandy in World War I and is taken in by a French woman living behind the lines.
The feature, produced by Sue Taylor and Kylie du Fresne, stars Offspring's Dan Spielman as reluctant solider Harry Lambert and French actress Marie Bunel as his love interest Colombe Jactatot.
Brown will play a supporting role, along with French-born RocKwiz host Julia Zemiro, as career soldier Lieutenant Foster, who represents Harry in court.
Ward last worked with her husband on her 2009 feature Beautiful Kate and admitted she was already "putting the armour on".
"I am getting ready to whip him," the director joked. "He’s usually the most difficult of the lot".
An Accidental Solider is based on the book Silent Parts by John Charalambous and has been adapted for the screen by Blake Ayshford (The Straits, Crownies).
Ward said the film looked at the subject of desertion during World War I "with hindsight and wisdom."
"The essence of the story is really about the futility and ghastliness of war and one person’s position on not wanting to be part of that," she said
Ward, who was at CinefestOz to watch her husband be presented with the Screen Legend award in Busselton on Saturday night, said she was looking forward to staying on in WA and seeing farmland outside Perth transformed into Normandy during 1918.
Production designer Clayton Jauncey, who re-created the trenches of the Western Front for the film Beneath Hill 60, has been given the job of building a French farmhouse and barn at Carmel while Midland Railway Workshops will be turned into a munitions factory.
Parts of An Accidental Solider will also be filmed in Moora, New Norcia and the ABC studios in Perth.
The film, which was developed and financed under the Primetime Television Production Fund between ABC Television and ScreenWest, is expected to wrap in early October and will screen on the ABC next year.