True Spirit is based on the true story of Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old Australian who in 2010 became the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world. She accomplished what many thought impossible, navigating some of the world’s most challenging stretches of ocean and surviving seven knockdowns while at sea for 210 days. Watson will consult on the biopic.
The trio join previously announced Teagan Croft, who’ll portray Watson. Paquin is set to play Jessica’s mum, Julie Watson; Lawson is Jessica’s dad, Roger Watson, and Curtis is Jessica’s coach, Ben Bryant.
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The movie will be shot in Queensland and Sydney later this year with a predominantly local cast and crew. The production is backed by the Queensland Government via Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy.
Sarah Spillane (Around the Block, This Life) directs off her adapted script of Jessica Watson’s bestselling memoir True Spirit. Rebecca Banner handled revisions.
Producers are Susan Cartsonis (Feel the Beat, Aquamarine, What Women Want) for Resonate Entertainment; Debra Martin Chase (Harriet, The Princess Diaries, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) for Martin Chase Productions; and Andrew Fraser (Lion) for Sunstar Entertainment.
EPs are Shahen Mekertichian (Lion) for Sunstar Entertainment; Sarah Spillane; Brent Emery & Suzanne Farwell for Resonate Entertainment; Georgina Marquis
Clément Bauer will co-produce for Resonate Entertainment.
Paquin was 11 when she became the second-youngest to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, for The Piano in 1994. She played Sookie Stackhouse on HBO’s long-running series True Blood and currently stars on the Amazon Prime series Flack, which she also executive produces. Other feature credits include The Irishman, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Good Dinosaur and the upcoming American Underdog.
Curtis credits include Avatar 2-5, Hobbs & Shaw, Doctor Sleep, The Meg, the upcoming Reminiscence and the AMC series Fear of the Walking Dead.
Lawson was nominated at the Oscars in 2018 in the Best Live Action Short category for Eleven O’Clock. His feature credits include Mortal Kombat, Bombshell and the TV series Superstore and House of Lies.
Curtis is repped by WME and Anonymous Content. Lawson is represented by UTA, Silver Lining Entertainment and LMCM. Pacquin is represented by Brillstein Entertainment partners and the Gersh Agency. Spillane’s is repped by RGM Artists, WME, Intellectual Property Group, and Alexander Lawrence, Frumes.