MURGON STAR: Leah Purcell's character Molly Johnson, The Drover's Wife, will be seen on the big screen with a feature film adaptation of Purcell's award-winning play. (Photo: Screen Australia)
MURGON STAR: Leah Purcell's character Molly Johnson, The Drover's Wife, will be seen on the big screen with a feature film adaptation of Purcell's award-winning play. (Photo: Screen Australia) Brett Boardman Photography

Murgon star takes Drover's Wife to big screen

MURGON star Leah Purcell has been given the green light to direct and lead her first feature film.

Screen Australia announced this week more than $5.7 million in production funding would go towards three new feature films, two children's television series and two online projects.

This includes a film adaptation of Purcell's award-winning play The Drover's Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said it was great to see several established creatives like Purcell taking on new challenges.

"Leah Purcell has an impressive body of work, telling powerful stories from behind and in front of the camera, and we're thrilled to support her first feature as director and lead,” he said.

"The Drover's Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is a brutal and beautiful story of identity, and there's no one better to tell it on screen.”

The Murgon actress is the director and writer of the western-thriller film and will be joined by producers David Josey, Bain Stewart and Greer Simpkin.

The film will depict the stage play's powerful re-imagining of Henry Lawson's classic short story.

It is set in the Snowy Mountains of NSW in 1893 and follows Molly Johnson, played by Purcell, as she and her children struggle to survive the elements.

Molly forms a bond with run-away man Yadaka, who helps her to understand her true identity.

The revenge Western asks the audience the question, how far will you go to protect the ones you love?

Purcell will play the lead role Molly alongside Rob Collins' character Yadaka, who is known for his role Father Isaac in Top End Wedding and as Jack in TV series The Wrong Girl.

The Drover's Wife project has received development support from Create NSW.

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