Verdict Film Group

CHOPPER IS BACK IN “PINBALL”

A new Australian film featuring never-before-seen footage of infamous gangster Mark “Chopper” Read

shot a year before his death is about to start filming in Geelong. Scenes shot with Read in 2012

and will be resurrected to become a central part of the crime drama, called Pinball,

about an ex-AFL player and his wayward criminal brother. The film belatedly grants Read his dying wish,

to play a gangster on the big screen. Pinball director Matt Holcomb said Reads presence is felt keenly,” Holcomb said. “He haunts the film in many ways. His philosophical musing gives the title to the film.

“Mark was always playing, well, he was playing Chopper. Chopper was a persona.”

“Mark was always playing, well, he was playing Chopper. Chopper was a persona.”

Verdict Film Group’s Cameron James Miller in Geelong is where Pinball will be shot. Other actors in Pinball will include Wolf Creek star John Jarratt, who was attached to the original, abandoned version of the film, as was Underbelly actor Kevin Kiernan-Molloy. Holcomb is also in negotiations with a former star of Young Talent Time to appear. The film will be partly set around Corio Bay and Colac, and has signed a distribution deal with new Geelong-based outfit Verdict Film Group. Miller, president of Verdict Film Group, said: “Geelong will be a great location and I am amazed since the first Mad Max was made in Geelong that producers are not picking Geelong more for their films.”

 

“Seventy per cent of the distribution profits will go back to the Shaun Miller Foundation Australia to build cardiac care homes for parents and families who have lost children to CHD,” Homes will operate as a retreat for families who have suffered loss.

Pinball will start filming in July on a six-figure budget ahead of a 2023 release,

and is the first of several planned projects for Verdict Film Group.

Read, who spent 23 years in prison for violent crimes, achieved notoriety after the film Chopper, 

starring Eric Bana, was released in 2000. His nickname is said to have come from his literal cutting

off of victims’ toes. The film was based on a best-selling book Read wrote in prison

with the help of The Age crime writer John Silvester. He became a columnist for Nuts 

and FHM magazines, wrote a children’s book, released a hip-hop album and staged an art exhibition.

Before he died, in an interview by The New York Times, Read said: “Honestly I haven’t killed that many people,” before putting the estimate at “probably between four and seven, depending how you look at it”.

Read died in 2013. He had been diagnosed with advanced liver cancer and his scenes were filmed

one year earlier, as part of the original Pinball feature film, which had a $1.5 million budget.

Last year Holcomb decided to revive the film as a low-budget feature, but COVID-19

those plans had to be put on hold. Alan Finney, chairman of national film industry body AFI/AACTA, mentored Holcomb on the original Pinball feature and is involved in the new version.

Finney was a former senior executive of Village Roadshow Film Distributors

and Walt Disney Beuna Vista and is now vice president of Verdict Films.

“Australia in the past has really embraced films with a somewhat similar concepts

with extreme characters,” Finney said.

VERDICT FILM GROUP

‘Films For A Cause’
70% of Verdict Film Group profits
are donated yearly to The Shaun Miller Foundation
to assist the SMF Cardiac Care Centres