Matrix stars old and new are joining Julia Garner in Kitty Green’s social thriller The Royal Hotel.

Hugo Weaving, who appeared in the first Matrix trilogy, together with rising name Jessica Henwick, recently seen in Matrix Resurrections (and the upcoming Knives Out 2) have been cast in the Australia-set film, coming from See-Saw Films, which was behind Jane Campion’s recent awards darling The Power of the Dog. The film reunites two-time Emmy winner Garner (Inventing Anna, Ozark) with Green, the two having worked together on the director’s breakout 2019 hit The Assistant. Green co-wrote the script with Oscar Redding (Van Diemen’s Land).

HanWay Films has come on board to handle international sales and distribution in partnership with Cross City Films, See-Saw’s in-house sales arm, and will be launching sales this week — ahead of the Marche in Cannes — with an online filmmaker presentation. UTA Independent Film Group and Cross City Films are co-repping the U.S. sale.

Inspired by true events, The Royal Hotel follows Hanna (Garner) and Liv (Henwick), two best friends backpacking in Australia. After they run out of money, Liv, looking for an adventure, convinces Hanna to take a temporary live-in job behind the bar of a pub called The Royal Hotel in a remote Outback mining town. Bar owner Billy (Weaving) and a host of locals give the girls a riotous introduction to Down Under drinking culture, but things turn nasty when their jokes and behavior cross the line. Soon Hanna and Liv find themselves trapped in an unnerving situation that grows rapidly out of their control. The film will begin shooting in Australia this summer.

“Kitty has a truly distinctive cinematic voice, and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with her on this gripping, rollercoaster of a journey into the heart of the Australian outback,” said See-Saw’s Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, who produce alongside Animal Kingdom and The King producer Liz Watts, See-Saw’s head of film and television in Australia, and Scarlett Pictures’ Kath Shelper. See-Saw Films’ COO Simon Gillis will executive produce.

“Like we saw with The Assistant, The Royal Hotel will get under the skin of audiences, bringing a sense of adrenaline and edge of seat compulsion to watch,” said Green. “We are delighted to be adding the incredible Jessica Henwick and Hugo Weaving to our cast alongside the brilliant Julia Garner.”

HanWay Films managing director Gabrielle Stewart added: “We are hugely excited to work with See-Saw Films on The Royal Hotel. Following in the thematic footsteps of The Assistant, this time Kitty Green gets to crank up the tension with a chilling, entertaining, yet all too recognizable tale of young women confronting the toxic masculine environment that threatens their trip of a lifetime. A universal story that is horribly recognizable.”

Henwick is represented by CAA, imPRint and Jackoway Austen Tyerman. Weaving is represented by Ann Churchill-Brown and Jaslyn Mairs at Shanahan Management Pty Ltd and Garner is represented by Anonymous Content and UTA. Green is also represented by UTA.

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