Farrell, Wahlberg for Rusty Bra Boy flick
RUSSELL Crowe's acting dream team for his directorial film debut includes some of Hollywood's hottest male stars, with Mark Wahlberg and Colin Farrell in his sights to play Maroubra's famous surf brothers Koby and Jai Abberton.
Last week it emerged that Crowe was in line to make his directorial debut with a Hollywood-backed film version based on the story of Maroubra's Abberton brothers.
Hollywood sources on Friday confirmed that Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment had acquired the rights to the Abbertons' story and that, in conjunction with partner Universal Pictures, Imagine will proceed with the development of a feature film about Maroubra's famous Bra Boy family.
"It's not a giant movie, it's a small movie, but Imagine has bought the life rights to the Abberton brothers' story, and now a screenwriter has been hired to write the screenplay," a Universal spokeswoman confirmed. "Russell Crowe will direct."
The spokeswoman would not reveal how much Imagine paid the Abbertons for the rights to their life story.
Australian writer Stuart Beattie, whose credits include Pirates Of The Caribbean, has been recruited to write the screenplay.
From inside the Abberton camp last week came a whisper that Crowe would himself play the man Maroubra sources call "the most likeable Abberton", older brother Sunny.
Wahlberg, who recently received critical acclaim for his starring role in Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film The Departed, is being pursued to play the surf professional Koby, while film industry bad boy Farrell is being approached to play Jai, the surf gang member charged but later acquitted of murdering standover man Tony Hines in 2003.
The film's surprising box-office popularity in its first week - it set a new Australian record for the highest grossing locally made documentary after taking $423,391 in its first weekend - is understood to have helped seal the deal in the past week.
This column was told the film would be a "triumph over adversity" biographical account of the Abberton family and not simply a dramatisation of Sunny Abberton's documentary.