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Netflix Has Unveiled the Cast of and a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Its 'Boy Swallows Universe' Series

Simon Baker, Travis Fimmel, Phoebe Tonkin, Bryan Brown and Deborah Mailman are among the cast bringing Trent Dalton's beloved Brisbane-set book to your streaming queue.
By Sarah Ward and Samantha Teague
September 01, 2022
By Sarah Ward and Samantha Teague
September 01, 2022

First, Boy Swallows Universe was a must-read book by Trent Dalton, spinning a tale about a young boy, his prophetic brother and his jailbreaking best friend as they navigate the heroin-filled underworld of 80s Queensland. Then, the Brisbane-set story became one of 2021's stage hits, earning admirers new and old while treading the boards. Next, it's about to become your next must-binge homegrown show, with Netflix announcing a streaming adaptation of the award-winning book earlier in 2022. If you've been wondering since how the latter might turn out, the platform has just dropped more details — and some behind-the-scenes photos.

You can stop your fan casting, because unveiling which famous faces are taking on the novel's characters is Netflix's new news. It's a hefty list, with the eight-part limited series set to star Travis Fimmel (Raised by Wolves) as Lyle Orlik, Simon Baker (Blaze) as Robert Bell and Phoebe Tonkin (Bloom) as Frances Bell — as well as Felix Cameron (Penguin Bloom) as Eli Bell, plus Lee Tiger Halley (The Heights) as Gus Bell.

Also nabbing parts: Bryan Brown (Hungry Ghosts) as Slim Halliday, Anthony LaPaglia (Nitram) as Tytus Broz, and Sophie Wilde (Eden) as Caitlyn Spies, plus Christopher James Baker (Ozark) as Ivan Kroll, HaiHa Le (Back to the Rafters) as Bich Dang and Deborah Mailman (Total Control) as Poppy Birkbeck. And, you'll see Ben O'Toole (Barons) as Teddy, Zachary Wan (Never Too Late) as Darren Dang, and Millie Donaldson and Eloise Rothfield as Shelley Huffman (aged 17 and 13, respectively).

Exactly when the series will hit your queue still hasn't yet been revealed, but it's scripted by screenwriter John Collee (Master and Commander, Happy Feet, Hotel Mumbai), and the show's executive producers 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 Aussie actor and filmmaker Joel Edgerton (The Underground Railroad, The Green Knight).

On directing duties: Bharat Nalluri (The Man Who Invented Christmas), Jocelyn Moorhouse (The Dressmaker) and Kim Mordaunt (The Rocket).

On the page, Boy Swallows Universe has snagged a slew of local awards, including Book of the Year, Literary Book of the Year and Audio Book of the Year at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards. The novel, which has sold a hefty amount of copies in Australia alone — 160,000 in 2019, when the play was announced — was also longlisted for Australia's most prestigious literature prize, the Miles Franklin Award.

And, while bringing Boy Swallows Universe to the screen has been in the works for some time — with Harper Collins selling the television rights to the novel back in 2019, and Edgerton set to produce the show since then — if you've been waiting to actually lock your eyes on a Boy Swallows Universe series, now it's finally happening.

Boy Swallows Universe will hit Netflix as an eight-part series sometime in the near future. We'll update you with further information, including a release date, when it's announced.

Images: Netflix.

Published on September 01, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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