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04 10 2017 - Media release

An Australian and International ensemble cast join Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black


L-R: (top) Julia Ormond, Angourie Rice, Rachael Taylor and Alison McGirr; (bottom) Vincent Perez, Ryan Corr, Susie Porter and Noni Hazlehurst

Academy Award® nominated director Bruce Beresford (Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy, Mao’s Last Dancer) has assembled an incredible Australian and international cast for Ladies in Black, the long-awaited big screen adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 best-selling novel, The Women in Black.

The film will star Julia Ormond (Mad Men) as Magda Szombatheli, the charming and sophisticated Slovenian émigré, Angourie Rice (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Beguiled, Every Day) in the role of Sydney schoolgirl Lisa Miles and Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones, Red Dog, Transformers) in the role of Fay Baines. Also joining the cast are Alison McGirr (Thirty) as Patty Williams, Vincent Perez (Queen Margot, Cyrano de Bergerac) as Magda’s Hungarian husband Stefan, Ryan Corr (Holding the Man) as Rudi; Susie Porter (Seven Types of Ambiguity) and Shane Jacobson (The Dressmaker) as Lisa’s parents, Mrs and Mr Miles; with Noni Hazlehurst (A Place to Call Home) as Miss Cartwright. 

In the feel-good film, Ladies in Black, high-fashion and glamour are the catalyst for a positive, indelible change in a young Sydney woman’s life. Set in the summer of 1959, when the impact of European migration and the rise of women’s liberation is about to change Australia forever, a shy schoolgirl (Lisa) takes a summer job at the grand city department store, Goode’s, while awaiting the results of her final exams. There she meets the “ladies in black” – the glamorous Goode’s employees. Beguiled and influenced by Magda, the vivacious manager of the high-fashion floor, and befriended by fellow sales ladies Patty & Fay, Lisa grows from a bookish girl to a glamorous and positive young woman, and she herself becomes a catalyst for a cultural change in everyone’s lives.

Bruce Beresford said that he is “thrilled to have assembled such a talented cast, who will bring to life wonderfully the varied characters from Madeleine St John’s novel.”

Previously of the production, Beresford has noted “I’ve been obsessed with making a film of Madeleine St John’s The Women in Black since I first read the novel about 15 years ago, after being told about it by Clive James, who had also been at Sydney University with Madeleine and myself. I was attracted by Madeleine’s wit, her light touch, her deft characterisations and her portrayal of a Sydney I knew so well - the Sydney of the 1950s and ‘60s - a time when the whole of Australia began to change because of the influx of European migrants (most of them escaping a depressed war-ruined Europe), who brought a whole range of talents (and invariably delicious cuisine) that created the successful multi-cultural society of the Australia we live in today.”

The film is produced by Allanah Zitserman and Sue Milliken. The screenplay was adapted from the novel by Beresford and Milliken.  

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions’ Stage 6 Films is the worldwide distributor with the film receiving major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW.

Ladies in Black is due to film in October 2017, in Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Cast images and biographies can be found here


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