Freelance journalist Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Sam Worthington will co-produce and possibly star in a six-hour miniseries that chronicles how a team of Australian and English journalists who covered the infamous World War I battle in Gallipoli were instrumental in the decision to end the campaign against Turkish forces. Worthington’s production company FullClip will produce with Matchbox Pictures, part-owned by NBCUniversal International Television Production, which has first and last rights on all Matchbox’s output. Australian pay-TV platform Foxtel, part-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, commissioned the mini, which is due to go into production in the second half of 2013 and will air in Australia in 2015 — which marks the 100th anniversary of the Turkey-set battle. Among the casualties were 43,000 British troops, 15,000 French, 8,700 Australians and 2,700 New Zealanders. Co-incidentally, one of the journalists involved was Keith Murdoch, Rupert’s father.
Matchbox’s Penny Chapman tells Deadline that Worthington has not decided whether to act in the mini but says, “We’re hoping he will.” She added that Worthington has agreed to try to persuade high-profile Australian actors based in Los Angeles who might not normally appear in an Australian TV drama to participate. The scripts are being written by Jacquelin Perske, Cate Shortland, Shaun Grant, and Wain Fimeri. Chapman said she expects funding will come from Foxtel, Screen Australia, the Australian producer tax offset, and international sales.
(Photo: Getty Images)