Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

33 Liberty Lane33 Liberty LaneBrian Rosen and Su Armstrong’s Australian film production company Tree is taking root in North America. The producers plan to start shooting 33 Liberty Lane, a comedy starring Emily Watson, Sandra Oh, Melora Hardin and Nia Vardalos, in Winnipeg in February, and they’re developing Doll, a U.S. romantic drama, with Chartoff Productions’ Lynn Hendee. Englishman Peter Hewitt (Garfield, The Maiden Heist) will direct Liberty Lane from a script by Canadian-born Australian resident Stephen Ayres. The plot follows four down-on-their-luck women who turn to phone sex as a way to make a quick buck and enlist the help of a hooker (not yet cast). Sales agent LevelK has negotiated presales worth $700,000 to Canada (Union Pictures), Russia and other territories, Rosen tells Deadline. Tree is co-producing with Phyllis Laing’s Winnipeg-based Buffalo Gal Pictures. Doll is the saga of an up-and-coming female singer who’s losing her hearing but finds a way to keep performing. It’s scripted by Aussie Campbell Graham from a story by Graham and Mark Maclaine. Armstrong showed the script to Hendee, whom she’d known since they worked on the Dolly Parton comedy Straight Talk in 1992 when Armstrong was a production executive with Hollywood Pictures, and Hendee agreed to co-produce. No director is aboard yet. Tree’s Around the Block, an Australian feature which stars Christina Ricci as an American drama teacher who reaches out to a troubled Aboriginal teenager played by The Sapphires’ Hunter Page-Lochard, is in post-production.

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