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Netflix's Adaptation of Trent Dalton's 'Boy Swallows Universe' Just Dropped Its First Teaser Trailer

The iconic Brisbane-set novel is hitting the small screen, with Simon Baker, Anthony LaPaglia, Travis Fimmel, Phoebe Tonkin, Bryan Brown and Deborah Mailman among the cast.
By Sarah Ward
November 01, 2023
By Sarah Ward
November 01, 2023

It's one of Australia's iconic novels. It has won a swag of awards, sold a heap of copies and been turned into a play. It's a Brisbane-set story that trod those boards in Brissie, and now it's a Netflix series that was shot in the River City, too. Boy Swallows Universe has been on its way to the small screen for some time, complete with behind-the-scenes glimpses of the production to prove it — and you can check out the TV adaptation's just-dropped first teaser trailer.

Harper Collins sold the television rights to the novel back in 2019, with Aussie actor and filmmaker Joel Edgerton (The Stranger) set to produce the resulting series since then. Netflix announced its involvement in 2022. After originally stating that the show would arrive in 2023, the streaming platform hasn't attached a date to its debut sneak peek at Boy Swallows Universe — but it's firmly on its way.

Written by Trent Dalton, the novel won the Book of the Year, Literary Book of the Year and Audio Book of the Year at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards — and was longlisted for Australia's most prestigious literature prize, the Miles Franklin Award when it hit the page — for spinning a story about a young boy, his prophetic brother and his jailbreaking best friend as they navigate the heroin-filled underworld of 80s Queensland. Also included: Eli Bell's (Felix Cameron, Penguin Bloom) attempt to understand how to be a good person, with his plight spanning a lost father, a criminal for a babysitter, a mum recovering from addiction, a mute brother and a stepfather who deals.

Netflix's adaptation span eight episodes, running as a self-contained limited series, as it tells a coming-of-age tale caught between childhood's magic and adulthood's reality. Travis Fimmel (Black Snow) also stars as Lyle Orlik, while the cast includes Simon Baker (Limbo) as Robert Bell and Phoebe Tonkin (Babylon) as Frances Bell — plus Lee Tiger Halley (The Heights) as Gus Bell.

Also featuring: Bryan Brown (Hungry Ghosts) as Slim Halliday, Anthony LaPaglia (Nitram) as Tytus Broz, and Sophie Wilde (Talk to Me) as Caitlyn Spies, plus Christopher James Baker (Ozark) as Ivan Kroll, HaiHa Le (Spooky Files) as Bich Dang and Deborah Mailman (The New Boy) as Poppy Birkbeck. And, you'll see Ben O'Toole (Barons) as Teddy, Zachary Wan (Never Too Late) as Darren Dang, and Millie Donaldson (Jack Irish) and Eloise Rothfield as Shelley Huffman (aged 17 and 13, respectively).

Boy Swallows Universe is directed by Bharat Nalluri (The Man Who Invented Christmas), Jocelyn Moorhouse (The Dressmaker) and Kim Mordaunt (The Rocket), and scripted by screenwriter John Collee (Master and Commander, Happy Feet, Hotel Mumbai). The impressive names involved extend to the show's executive producers, too, which include Troy Lum (The Water Diviner, Saving Mr Banks, Mao's Last Dancer), Andrew Mason (The Matrix, The Water Diviner), Sophie Gardiner (Howard's End, Chimerica), Kerry Roberts (Foe, Boy Erased), and Edgerton.

Check out the trailer for Boy Swallows Universe below:

Boy Swallows Universe will stream via Netflix, but doesn't yet have a release date — we'll update you when it's announced.

Published on November 01, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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