Look up "intense" in the dictionary and you'll find Guy Pearce glaring back at you. That's how I've felt ever since I saw him as the ambitious, ramrod-straight "good guy" in L.A. Confidential, and the impression only deepened with his subsequent hard-boiled appearance in Memento. Of course, he's also played a guilt-ridden psychiatrist (Till Human Voices Wake Us), a drag queen (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) and Andy Warhol (Factory Girl), but can you picture him as an anguished parent? That's the role he'll be portraying in How to Change in Nine Weeks, which began filming this week in Brisbane, Australia.

The film is based on Perfect Victim, a book by Elizabeth Southall and Megan Norris that looked into the mysterious disappearance and murder of a dreamy, ballet-loving teenage girl named Rachel (co-author Southall's daughter). It seems that a childhood friend of the girl developed serious mental problems and eventually hatched a scheme to assume Rachel's identity. Pearce will be playing Rachel's father and Mirando Otto, the sword-wielding Eowyn in two of the Lord of the Rings films, has been cast as her mother. The ever-reliable Sam Neill and Rebecca Gibney are also featured as the disturbed girl's parents.

Reportedly the book is based on the journals kept by Rachel's mother after her daughter disappeared. I hope I'm not giving anything away by noting that Rachel was murdered in 1999; though I haven't read the book, it appears that it begins with that fact, and the case was widely-reported in Australia. First-time director Simone North is a veteran producer; Thom Mount will co-produce and the legendary Sidney Lumet will act as North's mentor (Monica wrote about Mount's new production company Reliant Pictures a while back). The project has the blessing of Rachel's parents; the source material certainly suggests a powerful drama will be coming soon.