Michelle Payne's Melbourne Cup glory set for the big screen

GIDDY UP: The Payne family (Paddy, Michelle, and Stevie) flanked by the director Rachel Griffiths, and producer Richard Keddie of an upcoming film about their Melbourne Cup triumph. Picture: LACHLAN BENCE

GIDDY UP: The Payne family (Paddy, Michelle, and Stevie) flanked by the director Rachel Griffiths, and producer Richard Keddie of an upcoming film about their Melbourne Cup triumph. Picture: LACHLAN BENCE

From Ballarat to Hollywood, Michelle Payne’s story of perseverance and glory is set to hit the big screen early next year. 

The story of Ms Payne’s rise to the top of the race that stops the nation is being brought to cinemas by Rachel Griffiths, who will be making her directorial debut.

“I had been talking to (producer) Richard Keddie for a few years saying ‘why haven’t we done the great Australian sports movie?” Mrs Griffiths said.

“In that four minutes (of the Melbourne Cup) I became the biggest Michelle Payne fan.”

Mrs Griffiths also spoke about her move behind the camera.

“It’s probably as ambitious as Michelle saying at age seven ‘I’m going to win the Melbourne Cup’

“I wouldn’t feel this confident if I didn’t have the support of Racing Victoria, local turf clubs, and the Payne’s behind me.”

Michelle and Stevie Payne walk a lap with the horse that made them famous, Prince of Penzance

Producer Richard Keddie talked about the possibility of the film bringing an economic boom into the city.

“My last film was Oddball which was in Warrnambool and we had a huge impact on the tourism, so hopefully its going to attract a lot of attention and celebration and hopefully going to bring a lot of joy because this is such a fabulous place.” Mr Keddie said.

The film’s star, Michelle Payne, has had quite an arduous journey to the top of the mountain, losing her mother at six-months old.

Ms Payne spoke about the amazing job her family did helping her reach her goals.

“I obviously had great role models in my sisters who I thank to this day, and my dad, and my brothers, because times were tough for them and they just carried on in life, and I’m really thankful to dad for teaching us that growing up.

Ms Payne will be portrayed by Australian actress Teresa Palmer, who has previously starred in the films I am Number Four, Lights Out, Warm Bodies, and recently Hacksaw Ridge.

Her brother Stevie Payne, who Australia fell in love with as the strapper for his sisters Melbourne Cup horse Prince of Penzance, need not worry about someone filling his shoes, as he will be playing himself in the film.

The usually quiet Paddy Payne Sr fronted the media, giving his concise thoughts about the whole situation.

When asked about his feeling towards being portrayed by Juarassic Park star Sam Neil, Mr Payne simply said “Yes, very good,” and later added that he could have never seen this day coming.

The film is being supported by the City of Ballarat, Racing Victoria, Film Victoria, Tabcorp, and Holden.

The City of Ballarat declined to disclose how much money they would be putting towards the film.