Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

Violet Town is directed by Mark Joffe and is an adaptation of Steven Carroll’s novel The Art Of The Engine Driver, a 1957-set tale about a couple who attend a neighbor’s New Year’s Eve party where buried secrets are revealed. Guy Pearce and Rosamund Pike will play the couple in the pic, which is due to begin shooting in third-quarter 2013. Bryan Brown is also attached to the Matt Cameron script, which is co-produced by Essential Media and Entertainment’s Ian Collie. The feature is the first from an Aussie film and TV production co-venture between Mushroom Pictures and Morrissey Molloy Entertainment. Formed in 2011, the partnership also is co-producing The Road To Freedom Peak, a feature-length documentary that follows former child soldier Jonathan Okwir and journalist Corrin Varady as they ride bicycles across three East African countries. Varady’s Freedom Peak Films is also producing that project, narrated by Djimon Hounsou and commissioned by Australia’s Foxtel. John Molloy, Mushroom Pictures’ head of production, also just produced The Last Time I Saw Richard, a short film by writer-director Nicholas Verso, funded by Screen Australia’s Springboard program.

An offshoot of music impresario Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom empire, Mushroom Pictures’ credits include Chopper, Macbeth and Gettin’ Square. The joint venture’s development slate includes Verso’s Boys In The Trees, the saga of a teenage skater who encounters a former childhood friend and now nemesis; The Fast Life And Sudden Death Of Michael McGurk, the chronicle of Sydney businessman Michael McGurk, who was executed outside his Sydney home in 2009, based on a book by Richard Vereker and Mark Abernethy; and Emily Tempest, which features a twentysomething sleuth in Central Australia, the offspring of an Aboriginal mother and a white geologist, based on the novels by Adrian Hyland.

Morrissey Molloy’s Mark Morrissey runs his own talent agency, Mark Morrissey and Associates, whose roster includes brothers Liam, Chris and Luke Hemsworth, Callan Mulvey, and Jai Courtney.