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Daisy Ridley to lead Zak Hilditch’s ‘We Bury the Dead’

03 November 2023

Daisy Ridley and writer/director Zak Hilditch

Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley will head to Western Australia early next year for We Bury the Dead, a new survival-thriller from Zak Hilditch that will be filmed in the state’s great southern region.

She will star as Ava, a desperate woman whose husband is missing in the aftermath of a catastrophic military experiment. Hoping to find him alive, Ava joins a ‘body retrieval unit’, but her search takes a chilling turn when the corpses she’s burying start showing signs of life.

Written by Hilditch, the film will be produced by Kelvin Munro and Grant Sputore of WA production company The Penguin Empire, alongside Hilditch’s frequent collaborator Ross Dinerstein of Campfire Studios in the US. Gramercy Park’s Joshua Harris and Mark Fasano are also producing, while Nathan Klingher and Ford Corbett serve as executive producers.

The project is backed by major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Screenwest, Lotterywest, and the WA Regional Screen Fund, along with financial support from Gramercy Park Media. 

NEON and UTA Independent Film Group are launching international and US sales, respectively, at the American Film Market this week, with Umbrella Entertainment to distribute the film theatrically in Australia.

We Bury the Dead is Hilditch’s fourth feature film following Netflix originals Rattlesnake and Stephen King adaptation 1922, which were preceded by his Cannes Director’s Fortnight selected debut These Final Hours, filmed in Perth. 

The origins of We Bury the Dead can be traced back as far as 2020, when during an interview with fellow WA filmmaker Sam Lara, Hilditch mentioned he wrote a thriller about an accident that leaves a huge body count that he had initially planned to shoot in the US with support from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions, only for the company to “understandably” get cold feet.

The director said it was fitting production take place in WA. 

“This film is very much the spiritual successor to These Final Hours, the last film I made in WA and the one that launched my career,” he said.

“To be coming home with a film and to do so with someone of Daisy Ridley’s talents in the lead is a dream come true.”

Sputore and Munro also said it was “especially exciting” to bring one of Hilditch’s projects home. 

“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with Zak on this project,” they said in a joing statement. 

“Zak is uniquely gifted when it comes to making movies that are just as moving as they are terrifying.”

We Bury the Dead will begin production in February 2024.

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