It’s under wraps but John Malkovich and novelist Nicholas Shakespeare want to make a movie about Truganini, the last full-blooded Tasmanian Aboriginal, who died in 1876. Truganini’s story, to be filmed in New Zealand (which has the infrastructure), is searingly tragic and extraordinarily dramatic and could be an Oscar winner for an Aboriginal actress.

Malkovich and Shakespeare have previously collaborated on The Dancer Upstairs (based on Shakespeare’s novel of the same name), on which Malkovich made his debut as a director and Shakespeare wrote the screenplay.

Shakespeare summers on the east coast of Tasmania, spending the rest of the year in his native England. His book, In Tasmania, was a finalist last year in the Walkley Award for Best Non-Fiction Book.

Negotiations are in the very early stages and there are hurdles to jump, not least the anticipated protests over portraying the sensitive subject matter.