ABC has announced a new a six-part high concept genre drama, Cleverman, commissioned by its Indigenous Unit.
To be co-produced by Goalpost Pictures (The Accidental Soldier, Lockie Leonard, The Eternity Man, The Sapphires) and New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures (Thunderbirds are Go!, Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, King Kong, Avatar) it is described as ‘A smart, sexy and dangerous drama set in the near future, Cleverman sees a group of non-humans, battling for survival in a world where humans feel increasingly inferior to them and want to silence, exploit and kill them. Central to the drama is the story of two estranged Indigenous brothers who are forced together to fight for their own survival. Otherworldly dreaming creatures also emerge into this ‘real world’ dystopian landscape, in this startlingly original, action-packed genre series.’
Leading the ensemble cast are Scottish actor Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Frances O’Connor (The Missing), Deborah Mailman (The Sapphires), Hunter Page-Lochard (The Sapphires), Rob Collins (The Lion King) and Stef Dawson (The Hunger Games).
Also featuring are Ryan Corr, Tasma Walton, Rarriwuy Hick, Tony Briggs, Robyn Nevin, Lynette Curran and Jack Charles.
Cleverman is based on an original concept by Ryan Griffen. Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) is lead director, with Leah Purcell also directing. Michael Miller is script producer and writers are Michael Miller and Jon Bell. Producers are Rosemary Blight and Lauren Edwards for Goalpost Pictures, Ryan Griffen, and, for Pukeko Pictures, Angela Littlejohn, with Executive Producers Sally Riley, Kylie du Fresne, Ben Grant, Martin Baynton, Adam Fratto, Jan David Frouman and Amelie Kienlin.
Weta Workshop together with Jacob Nash (Bangarra Dance Company) will be providing the creature design. Park Road Post Production will provide picture, visual effects for the series.
Sally Riley, Executive Producer and head of ABC TV’s Indigenous Department said: “Cleverman marks the beginning of a new venture for Australia’s Indigenous production sector and is set to be a major drama highlight for ABC TV in 2016. Many years of hard work, collaboration and exceptional talent have brought about this exciting opportunity to invite audiences into a bold new story-world where Aboriginal storytelling meets high concept genre drama”.
Amelie Kienlin, Executive Producer and VP Scripted Acquisitions at Red Arrow, said: “Cleverman is a particularly bold and ambitious project, and must be one of the most original genre drama series to be currently in production anywhere in the world. We are delighted to be distributing this new show to broadcasters internationally.”
Cleverman is an original concept commissioned by the ABC TV Indigenous Department and produced in association with Screen Australia, Screen NSW and Red Arrow International.
It will screen on ABC TV in Australia, with Red Arrow International distributing the drama worldwide, and eOne Australia attached for domestic sales.