‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’: Australian TV’s largest ever series deal
Amazon Prime has acquired Foxtel’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, reported to be the largest ever deal for an Australian series.
Starring Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) as an English headmistress at a girls’ school in rural Victoria, the period drama based on the 1967 novel by Joan Lindsay centers on the mysterious disappearance of three pupils and a teacher on Valentine’s Day 1900.
Foxtel Head of Drama Penny Win wanted to bring the classic novel to modern audiences: “The accomplished cast who have been secured for Picnic at Hanging Rock will give new forms to Joan Lindsay’s iconic characters. Though the story remains in 1900, Picnic at Hanging Rock will be 21st-century storytelling.”
Picnic at Hanging Rock is Foxtel’s third major production sold to the U.S. after Wentworth, The Kettering Incident, and A Place to Call Home. Brian Walsh, Foxtel’s director of television, insisted the series be shot entirely in Victoria. “The location ensures U.S. audiences will see the outstanding craftsmanship of the Australian film and television industry, including performances of an illustrious group of acting newcomers who will now have their careers launched on the world stage.”
Fresh talent Madeleine Madden (Tomorrow, When the War Began), Ruby Rees (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), and Lily Sullivan (Mental) play students from the story’s fictional Appleyard College. Foxtel also hired two female directors, Larysa Kondracki (The Whistleblower) and Amanda Brotchie (Girlboss), to lead the series with Michael Rymer (In Too Deep). The original 1975 film adaptation was a huge commercial and critical success and remains a cited influence on modern filmmakers.
Production wrapped in May, with the six-part series set to air later this year.
“This is a landmark moment for our industry and for Australian storytelling”, said Walsh. “We are absolutely thrilled for everyone involved.”