Australia co-writer Stuart Beattie will make his directorial debut with an adaptation of the young-adult novel Tomorrow, When the War Began for an Australian shoot later this year.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Beattie also wrote the screenplay.
Tomorrow, When the War Began is the first novel in a popular series of seven written by Australian John Marsden and published from 1994-99. The Tomorrow Series, as it is known, details the insurgency efforts of a band of Aussie teenagers fighting off an enemy invasion and occupation of their homeland.
"It's coming of age in a war zone," said Beattie, who said he has read and loved all the books.
The filmmakers plan to make a trilogy of features from the first three books and then, if they're successful, spin the next four off into a TV series. The production is taking advantage of Aussie government money through Screen Australia and Film Victoria as well as a 40% tax break for shooting locally, though Paramount Vantage will co-finance and handle worldwide distribution. Matt Brodlie is overseeing for Vantage.
Tomorrow, When the War Began youth-targeted themes and PG-13 sex and violence could appeal to the same audience. The main character is a teen named Ellie Linton, who struggles to become a fierce leader even while navigating relationships with the seven other teenagers in her group.
The Tomorrow Series is one of the most popular Australian series ever published; the books are taught in schools there. Most of them were not available stateside until recently, but the filmmakers hope to persuade Scholastic to reprint them in tandem with the movie's launch. Marsden also penned a follow-up trilogy called the Ellie Chronicles, which look at the war's aftermath.
The plan is for production to start September in Oz.