Animal Kingdom adaptation premieres at Tribeca

Ellen Barkin says her gangster mother will pick up where Jacki Weaver's left off.


The US TV adaptation of Australian 2010 feature film Animal Kingdom has had its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The TNT series about a family wrapped up in a crime syndicate is adapted by John Wells (Shameless, Southland).

Variety reports stars Ellen Barkin, Scott Speedman and Shawn Hatosy, as well as exec producers Jonathan Lisco and Wells, who also directed the pilot, spoke in a post-screening forum.

Ellen Barkin who plays Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody, originally created by Jacki Weaver, says she starts where Weaver left off.

“I think she’s a very good mother. I do think she’s a good mother within a different kind of world,” she noted, referring to the tactile bond she shares with her four sons.

To shape her performance, Barkin drew from personal experience.

“I looked to my own mother and grandmother,” she said.

“You wouldn’t let me do the lip sucking thing,” she said to Wells, referring to one of the ticks she tried out that didn’t make the cut.

“You thought that was too far.”

Hatosy’s Andrew “Pope” Cody urges viewers to keep an open mind about his character.

“I get really defensive when people say Pope is creepy. I don’t approach it that way,” he said.

“It’s never black and white. He’s like beige and purple.”

While the central family is made up mostly of thrill-seeking, often misogynistic and homophobic white men, Lisco explained that behind the scenes, they’re working to represent more voices.

An Australian broadcaster has not yet been announced.

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