Is the Tomorrow Series Australia's Answer to Twilight?

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It doesn't have vampires, it doesn't have wolfcake, and it doesn't have its own touring fan conventions. (Yet.) But as of today, Australia's bestselling Tomorrow series of books -- perhaps the most popular young-adult literature franchise you've never heard of -- has a leading lady for its upcoming big-screen adaptation. Paramount is in, and Pirates of the Caribbean/Collateral/G.I. Joe scribe Stuart Beattie will adapt the novel as his directing debut. Oz is abuzz -- but can it cross over?

Beattie today announced he's cast 19-year-old actress Caitlin Stasey (right) as Ellie Linton, the heroine of John Marsden's phenom Tomorrow, When the War Began and one of the most coveted movie roles in the country. Tomorrow is the first of a seven-part series chronicling a ragtag band of teen rebels who resist the foreign invasion of their country -- kind of like an Aussie Red Dawn, I'm told, but with the added complications of hormones as opposed to quaint Cold War paranoia. As their leader (and the first-person narrator of all seven books), Ellie is part action hero, girl-power icon, patriot, and budding romantic; together, from their remote bush encampment known as "Hell," the crew fights on while negotiating the attendant drama that comes with growing up guerrilla.

Stasey comes from TV, where she has appeared in nearly 300 episodes of the Australian soap opera Neighbours -- the same 25-year old institution known for once featuring Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kylie Minogue and other eventual crossover stars. In a release announcing her casting, Beattie cited Stasey's "perfect balance of intelligence, vulnerability and strength that is essential to this character." The same release notes Paramount's deal to distribute in Australia and New Zealand, where Marsden's book have sold 2 million copies to date.

Depending on how generalized a tone Beattie cares to set with the first film, the Tomorrow series could acquire international traction among 18-25 brackets for whom Twilight and Harry Potter will be over by 2011 -- if not before then, at least emotionally. The invading army has no specific national affiliation (It's definitely not America, which declines to get involved by the third book), so no markets are alienated. Stasey's rising profile will land her Hollywood work, popular interest in which could make later installments of the series worth the Stateside investment for Paramount, whose notoriously anemic long-term slate could use the boost. (Beattie himself is part of the problem, having set the studio up with Joe's inner-child demographic in perpetuity.)

Or... not. Either way, it can't hurt to keep an eye out for this one. It could be invading us before you know it.



Comments

  • Das Quirkster says:

    Blech. Having had to read the books in high school, I can say unequivocally right now: the film(s) will suck. The translation from page to screen will be a mess and Caitlin Stasey is a bloody awful actor cast for her pretty face I have to assume.

  • Lament says:

    I disagree... Everyone i know is stoked about the series being made into films. I think Caitlin Stasey is a phenomenal actor. I was nervous to see who they would cast as Ellie, but I'm confident she would be able to carry the film with ease.

  • MA says:

    I read 'em as a twentysomething and thought they were great YA literature. I think a movie adaptation could be kick-ass. As for Ms Stasey's acting abilities, well, not having seen Neigbhours or Saddle Club, I can't pass comment. However, it's not a stretch to say that others who started on Australian TV - Crowe, Pearce, etc - didn't do their best work there.

  • Tomfan says:

    Tomorrow series fans are bit obsessed and sensitive, I don't think they would be happy with any actor chosen. I am sure she will do great, I am sure the movies will be great. If you don't think a movie should be made, well stick with the book and don't watch the movie, easy!

  • Chloe says:

    I first read Tomorrow When The War Began when i was 15 for high school and got hooked on it and the sequels straight away- now i am 29 and still love re-reading the series!
    I was a little surprised that Caitlin was cast as Ellie as i always imagined her to have blonde hair/blue eyes but when she was on Neighbours- she was one of my favourite characters. I'm sure Caitlin will do a good job at playing Ellie!

  • Stephanie says:

    I loved Tomorrow, but I just don't see it becoming a hit. It will get a niche audience, at best, unless they change the feel of the story enough to make it more of a mainstream angsty teen movie.

  • jason says:

    She doesn't look anything at all how I imagined Ellie to look. In my mind, Ellie has blonde hair. This actress looks more the way Fi looks!
    I'm American, so I haven't seen Neighbors, so I can't comment on her acting.

  • Chichi says:

    I was so excited to hear that the books were being made into a movie!!!
    I am tho surprized at there choice for the actress who will play Ellie.
    To me Ellie is alittle bit more tomboyish I think Catilyn is to pretty to play Ellie.
    But hopefully they will blow us away!!!!

  • Sarah :) says:

    hi everyone, i just finished the series about two weeks ago, it was so awesome! when im older i want to be an actress. but for now im a story writter and i love to read! caitlin is abit pritty for ellie don't you think? she looks almost exactally the way i thought she would but maybe abit less clean. but what i want to know is who is going to be Fi? and Lee? and Corrie? they're my favourite charaters :) all my friends say im a Corrie/ Fi. anyway they are such good books and i carn't wait to see the movies. ( i hope im old enough to get in) anyone know a way to get into the move? this could be my big break! xx

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