Exclusive : Wincer talks upcoming projects… and those he’s had to leave behind


As evidenced by “Phar Lap” and now, “The Cup”, Simon Wincer isn’t one to pass on a rousing Aussie-set true story. Now that he’s put the Damien Oliver story to bed, the veteran filmmaker – whose other credits include “The Phantom” and “The Lighthorsemen” – says he’s going to next let audiences in on the story behind the classic Aussie tune, ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

It’s a big Australian film. It’s the story behind the song – it’s an epic romance set in the backdrop of the shearer’s strike, which is when the country was on the brink of civil war. It’s an amazing story. It’s a pretty expensive undertaking and I think that’s why the few people that have tried to get this story up before have failed.

The lead character in the film is a Swagman and the film will play to the beat of every lyric in the song.

Wincer’s determined to get this one up, if only because he knows too well how much stings to have a “beautie” not make it before the cameras.

One of them was the best western I’ve ever read. It was sent to me after Lonesome Dove. And I formed a relationship with a producer named Steve Bing – lovely, lovely guy; my partner gave him my first job in the industry – and we were going to do something together; that project didn’t come off, so we decided we wanted to try and get this western, which was called The Cowboy and the Cossack, up.

It would’ve been absolutely breathtaking. It’s about a group of American cowboys who have to escort a group of cattle across Russia.

The opening scene was on a sailing ship at night time, as it arrived off Vladivostok, and the port authority wouldn’t allow them to drop the cattle off. So they went upstream a bit and jumped the cattle off there. And they all went and later got drunk… as did the cattle. Their Cossack escort arrived the next morning to escort them across Russia and they were, of course, all passed out. But yes, it’s this great journey.. an epic journey… across Russia with these two groups who couldn’t even speak each other’s language.

It was such a breathtaking story, but it was just too complicated and… didn’t happen. Lots of people have been attached to it over the years.

That does sound like a gem of a yarn.

Next, Wincer says he’s off to America to do a “contemporary western” that he’s currently “trying to cast”.