|Beneath Hill 60|
Australian theatrical poster
|Directed by||Jeremy Sims|
|Produced by||Ross J. Thomas (executive)
|Written by||David Roach|
Steve Le Marquand
|Music by||Cezary Skubiszewski|
|Editing by||Dany Cooper|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Release date(s)||15 April 2010|
Set during World War I, the film tells the story of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Division’s effort to mine beneath a German bunker and detonate an explosive charge to aid the advance of British troops. The screenplay is based on an account of the ordeal written by Captain Oliver Woodward, who is portrayed by Brendan Cowell in the film.
Ross J. Thomas, a mining engineer and historian, met with producer Bill Leimbach and quickly convinced him that the story of Captain Oliver Woodward and the 1st Australian Tunnelling Division was "a story crying out to be told". Thomas knew descendants of Captain Oliver Woodward living in Melbourne, who agreed to have Woodward's diaries adapted into a screenplay. Leimbach recruited David Roach to write the film. Extensive research went into developing the characters and their environment, with Canberra's Australian War Memorial Archives providing research material.
The majority of the war scenes were written to take place inside the tunnels so a tense environment could be achieved while facilitating the film's tight budget. While searching for an director, Leimbach viewed Jeremy Sims's 2006 film Last Train to Freo. Impressed with the intensity of the film's claustrophobic action, Leimbach approached Sims, who agreed to direct Beneath Hill 60 after reading an early treatment.
Actor Hugo Weaving showed interest in participating in the film and was offered the role of Oliver Woodward, but ultimately declined due to his claustrophobia. The role went to Brendan Cowell in a decision driven by the actor's experience and numerous accolades.
Working titles for the film included The Silence and The Silence Beneath. Leimbach explained that the film was titled Beneath Hill 60 to maximise recognition for the international audience and felt that it was a more suitable title for a war film.
Principal photography for Beneath Hill 60 began in late July 2009 and lasted around 40 days. The film was shot in Townsville, Queensland and its surrounding areas. Locations were used to represent both Australia and the Western Front, while the tunnels were constructed as sets indoors; digging actual tunnels to film in would have proved "logistically impossible" and posed a high level of risk to the cast and crew. Actor Hugh Jackman gave the production team part of a set from a World War I scene in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which Jackman had starred in and produced.