EXCLUSIVE: Poor Boy, the film that will mark Guy Pearce’s directorial debut, is readying for the Toronto Film Festival with cast members and sales agents. The festival takes place this year from Sept. 7 thru Sept. 17. The film, in which Pearce will also star (reprising his stage role), has brought together Frances O’Connor (The Conjuring 2), Richard Roxburgh (Van Helsing), Callan Mulvey (Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice) and Sarah Peirse (The Hobbit). The project is slated for an April 2018 start.

Music is being done by Split Enz and Crowded House singer/songwriter Tim Finn, the same musician/composer on the successful stage play in which Pearce starred from playwright Matt CameronAl Clark (Flammable Children, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) is producing.

Edward Noeltner’s Cinema Management Group and Richard S. Guardian’s Guardian Entertainment International are repping the pic and Becker Film Group will distribute in Australia and New Zealand.

Adapted for the screen by Cameron, Poor Boy centers on two families whose lives become mysteriously linked by events that occurred seven years earlier. “As they experience loss, longing, belief, love, and hope, their emotional journey forces them to face many truths, as secrets emerge, and lies are uncovered. By the time the story reaches its redemptive finale, the characters have a deeper understanding of who they are, and of the strengths and weaknesses of their relationships, as they, and the audience, are left to question their own sense of self,” says the logline.

Like he did on stage at the Melbourne Theater Company in 2009, Pearce will play Danny. “I’ve been waiting for the right film on which to step into the director’s seat. I’ve had the good fortune to have worked with some great directors – Christopher Nolan, Kathryn Bigelow, Ridley Scott, Curtis Hanson, Tom Hooper, Todd Haynes, David Michod, John Hillcoat – and many others, from whom I have learned a great deal,” said Pearce. “When it came to finding that great story to tell, Poor Boy was right there waiting for me. Discussing this with my good friends and collaborators Al Clark and Matt Cameron, it was an easy decision to make.”

The idea to turn the stage play into a feature film came before this year’s Cannes. Noeltner, CMG’s Dene Anderberg, and Guardian will kick off sales. “For many years Al and I have spoken about finding something on which we can collaborate, and obviously I have enormous respect and admiration for Guy’s body of work,” said Guardian. “So, when Al pitched (the film) to me this year in Cannes, Edward and I immediately jumped at the opportunity to be involved.”

Pearce, whose body of work includes Memento, L.A. Confidential, The Hurt Locker, Animal Kingdom, The King’s Speech, and Prometheus, is repped by Ann Churchill Brown Shanahan Management (who we’re told negotiated much of this deal), Independent Talent Group and CAA.