4 October 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network

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Michael Smiley to star alongside Elijah Wood in Bookworm
25 Apr 2023 : Luke Shanahan
Michael Smiley
Production is set to commence in Aotearoa, New Zealand from director Ant Timpson (Come to Daddy) and written by Toby Harvard (Come to Daddy, The Greasy Strangler).

Michael Smiley (Kill List, Bad Sisters, The Lobster), and Nell Fisher (Evil Dead Rise, Northspur, Choose Love) will star alongside previously announced Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings, Come to Daddy, Yellowjackets), in the family adventure comedy Bookworm

Bookworm tells the story of 12-year-old Mildred (Fisher) whose life is turned upside down when her estranged, washed-up American magician father, Strawn Wise (Wood), comes to look after her. Hoping to entertain the bookish tween, Strawn takes Mildred camping in the notoriously rugged New Zealand wilderness, and the pair embark on the ultimate test of family bonding: a quest to find the mythological beast known as the Canterbury Panther.

Michael Smiley was recently IFTA-nominated for his role in the acclaimed dark comedy series Bad Sisters. He previously won a BIFA award for Best Supporting Actor in the feature Kill List. Smiley also starred in the period crime series Dead Still which was nominated for 7 IFTAs at the 17th Irish Film & Television Awards including Best Drama and Best Director. His recent feature films include Gunpowder Milkshake and The Silent Twins.

British/New Zealander Nell Fisher recently starred in Evil Dead Rise, the fifth installment of the cult horror series directed by Irish filmmaker Lee Cronin.

“I couldn’t be more excited to return to New Zealand to both get the creative band back together with Ant Timpson, but also reconnect with the country I’ve missed so much” said Elijah Wood.

Bookworm will be the second collaboration between Wood and Timpson, with the pair working together on Come to Daddy in 2018.

"The sheer joy I had working with my friend Elijah on Come to Daddy was so delicious, there was no way I wasn’t coming back for seconds,” says director Timpson. “In Bookworm we’re going to put him through the ringer again, except this time he’s at the mercy of a precocious 12-year-old and the rugged landscapes of the Canterbury region.”

Bookworm is produced by Emma Slade, Roxi Bull and Victoria Dabbs of Firefly Films and Mette-Marie Kongsved and Laura Tunstall of Nowhere. It is executive produced by Steven Demmler of Talon Entertainment Finance, Blair Ward and Anders Erdén of Orogen Entertainment, and Kelly Rogers and Kevin Gordon of Rialto Distribution.

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