Streaming

Aussie star unrecognisable as Boy Swallows Universe cast announced

Who will lead the Netflix adaptation?
Loading the player...

The cast of Netflix’s big-budget adaptation of the novel Boy Swallows Universe has finally been announced and there are some big Aussie stars leading the show.

Based on the popular Australian book by Trent Dalton, the show will be led by Vikings star Travis Fimmel as Lyle Orlik, Aussie icon Simon Baker as Robert Bell and nostalgic H2O: Just Add Water star Phoebe Tonkin as Frances Bell.

As for the leading child characters, Eli and Gus Bell will be played by Felix Cameron as Eli and Lee Tiger Halley as Gus.

The adult cast have some serious acting chops between them, with Simon best known for his long-running role as Patrick Jane on The Mentalist.

But it’s Travis who has caught fans’ attention in newly released promotional photos, as he’s sporting a very different look for the show.

boy-swallows-universe
Travis Fimmel will be sporting a mullet as Lyle Orlik. (Credit: Netflix) (Credit: Netflix)

For years he led Vikings as Ragnar Lothbrok, sporting everything from a heavy tattoos and a long braid to a shaved head and scruffy beard in the role – but we’ve never seen him with a mullet before!

The Australian star appears with a “business in the front, party in the back” hairdo as Lyle Orlik, sporting a dangling earring and a few tattoos to match.

Meanwhile Phoebe Tonkin, who most Aussie women will remember as Cleo in the iconic H2O: Just Add Water, is looking beachy as ever with wavy blonde locks in the promo photos.

Who else has been cast in Netflix’s Boy Swallows Universe?

boy-swallows-universe
Phoebe Tonkin, who most Aussie women will remember as Cleo in the iconic H2O: Just Add Water, will play Frances Bell. (Credit: Netflix) (Credit: Netflix)

Travis Fimmel, Simon Baker and Phoebe Tonkin will lead the cast, with other stars like Bryan Brown, Anthony La Paglia and Sophie Wilde joining them as Slim Halliday, Tytus Broz and Caitlyn Spies respectively.

The rest of the supporting cast include the likes of Christopher James Baker as Ivan Kroll, HaiHa Le as Bich Dang, Deborah Mailman as Poppy Birkbeck, Ben O’Toole as Teddy, Zachary Wan as Darren Dang , and Millie Donaldson and Eloise Rothfield as Shelley Huffman at different ages.

To say this cast is packed with Australian star power is the understatement of the year.

What do we know about Netflix’s Boy Swallows Universe?

boy-swallows-universe
Netflix picked the novel up for an eight-part series in early 2022. (Credit: Netflix) (Credit: Netflix)

Boy Swallows Universe is a semi-autographical book by Trent Dalton and was an instant hit when it was released in 2018.

It was adapted into a successful stage show in Queensland in 2021 before Netflix picked it up for an eight-part series in early 2022.

If you haven’t read it, the novel is set in Australia in 1983 and follows the tough life of 12-year-old Eli Bell.

He’s got a mute brother, drug-dealing stepfather, incarcerated mother, lost father, and his greatest support is his babysitter, a notorious ex-con. He’s just trying to make his way in a world that rarely seems to be on his side.

If you’re keen to read Boy Swallows Universe, you can shop here on Booktopia for $20.99.

Related stories