Amazon Picks Up Australian Series ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ Starring Natalie Dormer


Amazon has acquired Picnic at Hanging Rock, the upcoming six-episode Australian drama series starring Game Of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer, for a 2018 premiere on Amazon Prime Video US.

The series, a re-imagining of Joan Lindsay’s classic Australian novel, hails from director Larysa Kondracki and distributor FremantleMedia International.


Dormer stars as English headmistress Mrs Hester Appleyard  — a woman whose dead husband instructs her daily life and whose peculiarities are surely hiding dark skeletons — in Picnic at Hanging Rock, which chronicles the mysterious disappearances of three schoolgirls and one teacher on Valentine’s Day 1900. The complex, interwoven narrative follows the subsequent investigation and the event’s far-reaching impact on the students, families and staff of Appleyard College, and on the nearby township. Yael Stone plays Miss Dora Lumley, one of the teachers at Appleyard College. The college student roles are played by Lily Sullivan (Camp) as Miranda Reid, Madeleine Madden (Tomorrow When The War Began) as Marion Quade, Samara Weaving (Monster Trucks) as Irma Leopold, Ruby Rees (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) as Edith Horton and introducing Inez Curro as Sara Waybourne.

“The stylish re-imagining of the provocative Picnic at Hanging Rock story will no doubt capture contemporary audiences across the US,” said Caroline Kusser, SVP, Sales & Distribution for FremantleMedia International in North America. “With fantastic scripts, outstanding cast and bold editorial direction from Larysa Kondracki, Picnic at Hanging Rock is set to be a must-see series in 2018. We are thrilled to be working with Amazon Prime Video to bring this powerful drama to US screens.”

The sale was based in part on a sizzle made by Kondracki who has been overseeing the entire production in addition to directing the pilot and two additional episodes.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, which will have its world premiere on Foxtel in Australia in 2018, is a FremantleMedia Australia production made with key production investment from Screen Australia. The series was shot in Victoria, Australia, with the assistance of the Victorian Government through Film Victoria.

Executive producers are FremantleMedia Australia’s Jo Porter and Anthony Ellis and Foxtel’s Penny Win, script producer and establishing writer is Beatrix Christian, Writer Alice Addison, producer Brett Popplewell, directors are Larysa Kondracki, Michael Rymer and Amanda Brotchie. For Amazon, the series will be overseen by Amazon Studios’ Head of International Series Morgan Wandell.

A Canadian filmmaker best known for her debut feature film, The Whistleblower starring Rachel Weisz, Kondracki has directed episodes of high-profile drama series like Legion, The Americans and Better Call Saul and served as the producing director on Copper. Lawyers Linda Lichter and Jonathan Shikora of Lichter Grossman represent Kondracki.

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