Foxtel has announced a new 8 part drama series Upright to star Tim Minchin and Milly Alcock as two misfits dragging a battered piano from Sydney to Perth (shades of Fitzcarraldo perhaps!).
Lucky Flynn (Minchin) hasn’t spoken to his family in years. He’s broke, distant and damaged. He’s also a gifted pianist, whose talent for music is matched only by his talent for self-destruction. When he learns that his mother has only days left to live, Lucky sets off in a hire car to drive the 4000 kilometres from Sydney to Perth to say goodbye to her, taking with him his only cherished possession in the world – a battered and scarred upright piano. But what should have been a straightforward drive across the Nullarbor soon becomes a test of Lucky’s emotional fitness, when he (quite literally) runs into Meg (Milly Alcock), a hilarious, tough-as-nails teenager, who we soon discover has plenty of scars and secrets of her own.
Produced by Lingo Pictures (Lambs of God, Wake in Fright), the script described as both funny & touching is penned by Chris Taylor (The Chaser), Minchin and Kate Mulvany (Fighting Season, Jasper Jones) and Leon Ford (Offspring, No Activity). Matt Saville (Please Like Me, Cloudstreet) will direct. Minchin will also write the music and is Executive Producer with Penny Win and Helen Bowden. Producers are Lingo Pictures’ Jason Stephens, Chris Taylor and Melissa Kelly (Hounds of Love). It will also screen on SKY UK.
Tim Minchin said, “From the moment I heard about the idea for Upright, I knew it was the show I’d been waiting to make. I like stories that make me laugh and think and cry, I adore the landscapes of outback Australia, and I love music, and homecomings, and characters full of flaws. It’s awesome to be writing with this extraordinary team, and I’m looking forward to acting alongside Milly Alcock, who I think is a really special talent.”
Foxtel’s Head of Drama Penny Win said: “As part of Foxtel’s commitment to telling great Australian stories, we are delighted to be able to bring this wonderful adventure to the screen. We look forward to working with Tim Minchin and Lingo Pictures on what will be a wonderful showcase of Aussie talent.”
Screen Australia’s Head of Production Sally Caplan said: “Upright is a project that will also appeal in Australia and to the international market, with the hugely talented Tim Minchin on board to produce and star in the series. What attracted us to this series was the well-crafted young female protagonist, and work of the strong writing team including accomplished writer Kate Mulvany, and comedic writers Leon Ford and Chris Taylor. I have no doubt this moving and quirky comedy will resonate with audiences.”
Jason Stephens, Lingo Pictures, said: “There are not many shows I’ve enjoyed developing as much as Upright. It’s been a joy having Tim back home and working with our talented team of writers scripting this beautiful and funny show. Matt Saville’s direction always delivers something special so I can’t wait to start shooting and bringing this story to the Foxtel and Sky audiences.”
SAFC Chief Executive Courtney Gibson said: “Upright brings together an extraordinary combination of creative talents to deliver what promises to be outstanding television. South Australia’s stunning locations will provide the perfect setting for this landmark production for Foxtel, which will be based at Adelaide Studios.”
Morwenna Gordon, Commissioning Editor Sky Comedy, said: “Sky Comedy is always striving to work with the best talent and on the most surprising, unique and beautifully crafted shows, so we’re delighted to be collaborating with the world class Tim Minchin on Upright. Alongside Milly Alcock (and a battered piano), we’re sure this is a road trip Sky customers will never forget.”
The series will be made in association with the South Australian Film Corporation. Screenwest and Create NSW are also investors. Production will begin in South Australia and Western Australia in October.