The Australian Army’s 34th Battalion arrived in France in 1916 and fought against the Germans on the Western Front. The unit’s little-heralded story will be chronicled in the ensemble war drama The 34th Battalion.
A soccer hardman and Hollywood action star, Vinnie Jones and Avatar’s Stephen Lang will now join a cast that includes Luke Hemsworth (brother of Chris and Liam Hemsworth), Emilie de Ravin (Brick), Charles Mesure (Desperate Housewives), Les Hill and Andrew Lees of Rescue Special Ops, Claire van der Boom (Hawaii Five-0), Tony Bonner (Quigley Down Under, and Vince Colosimo (Body of Lies), respectively.
Jones will play the British-born Lieutenant-Colonel who led the battalion, while Lang is a U.S. officer who is part of the squad.
Ian Sparke will serve as executive producer and his son Luke Sparke will be making his directorial debut on the feature. The father-son team also wrote the screenplay. Shooting is due to start in early 2013 in Wauchope, New South Wales.
After the death toll at Gallipoli in 1915 the Australian forces are sent to the major battlefield of the First World War: The Western Front.
Jonathan Brown and his close friends, whose lives are full of family and commitments, are faced with a call of duty. A recruitment march has found it’s way to their small town. Jonathan’s decision is full of heartbreak and regrets. He will carry those with him through the war.
The new soldiers soon find themselves under the wing of the experienced Sergeant Chappell – a man who will become a father figure – as they experience their baptism of fire in the mud soaked trenches.
A gritty and powerful window to the past, Jonathan’s story brings a personal and human element to the concept of war. How will this gentle and kind man survive the horrors of the Western Front? How will he return?
Travel with these men to the front lines. Be with them, change with them. Charge the enemy with them. Cry and laugh with them. Be exhausted with them.