After The Darren Weir Scandal, What Happens To The New Michelle Payne Movie?
They call the Melbourne Cup 'The Race That Stops A Nation'. But has a major movie about the race been stopped in its tracks?
Michelle Payne's 2015 Melbourne Cup win was one of the great Australian sporting stories on so many levels.
You had the the first female jockey to win the race in its 155th edition -- and her ride was pure genius. You had the horse itself, Prince of Penzance, which was 100-1 and considered no chance by experts. You had Michelle's brother Stevie, who become the joyous face of a battler's triumph.
And you had Darren Weir, the trainer from the bush who was rapidly becoming a significant national player, but who had never won a race half this big. Weir is absolutely crucial to this tale because it was he who insisted Payne ride the horse, even as some owners demanded a male jockey.
It's such a great story, they recently made a movie about it. Called 'Ride Like A Girl', it's directed by Rachel Griffiths and is due for release later this year.
But the question must now be asked:
What happens to the movie now that Darren Weir has been disqualified from the racing industry for four years for possession of prohibited taser-like devices called 'jiggers', which a judge described as "instruments of cruelty and implements associated with a high level of cheating"?
10 daily contacted Screen Australia, the government-funded body which is the principal investor in the film. We asked them whether filming had been completed and what, if anything, might happen in the wake of the Weir scandal.
They declined the opportunity to comment and put us onto the movie's publicist Tracey Mair. These were our questions to Mair:
- Has the movie been filmed? If so, is it now in post-production?
- When is the movie due for release?
- Has the date has been pushed back by the Darren Weir scandal?
- Weir (who trained the horse Prince of Penzance) has just been banned for four years from racing. Is there any chance you will have to re-shoot scenes with him in it?
- In general terms, can you say whether Weir is cast as a "good guy" in the film?
Mair's reponse was as follows:
"The film is in post production. There is no further comment from the film’s producers at this time."
So in a nutshell, we don't know what happens next. It was suggested this week by a screen studies lecturer that some scenes could be re-shot, and the character of Weir made less pivotal.
Suffice to say, what looked like being a simple feelgood tale is now a considerably more complicated one. We'll let you know if we learn more.