Charlotte Best has landed the biggest role of her career – the lead in the Netflix Original series Tidelands – after starting out as a teenager playing Annie Campbell in Home and Away followed by Puberty Blues and Craig Boreham’s Teenage Kicks.
Created by Stephen M. Irwin and produced by Hoodlum, the 8-part supernatural crime drama started shooting in south-east Queensland today.
The director is British-born, Auckland-based Toa Fraser, who cut his teeth on the Kiwi films Dean Spanley, Giselle and The Dead Lands. Earlier this year he directed back-to-back episodes of Marvel’s Daredevil and Marvel’s Iron Fist in New York for Netflix.
The cast includes Aaron Jakubenko (The Shannara Chronicles, Spartacus: War of the Damned), Spanish-born, Byron Bay-based Elsa Pataky (The Fast & Furious franchise, 12 Strong), Peter O’Brien and Mattias Inwood.
Best plays Cal McTeer, a street-smart, sexy, sharp-tongued young woman who returns home to the the small fishing village of Orphelin Bay after years in juvenile detention.
Jakubenko is Augie McTeer, her fisherman brother whose family has long smuggled contraband. O’Brien is deckhand Bill Sentelle and Inwood is Corey Welch, the local cop and Cal’s former flame.
Pataky is Adrielle Cuthbert, the self-proclaimed leader of the Tidelanders, a commune of outcasts who appear to be humans but in fact are the bastard offspring of humans and sirens. They work with the smugglers in exchange for their most valued asset: privacy.
Executive producers Tracey Robertson, Nathan Mayfield and Leigh McGrath hired Fraser after watching his show reel and he flew from Ireland to Brisbane to meet them. “We just hit it off,” Robertson tells IF. “He was so passionate about the project. We wanted to work with people who are as excited about the project as we are.”
Irwin first had the idea for the series before he created Secrets & Lies for Hoodlum and he handed a dossier of research he had done on sirens to the producers.
They pitched the show to Kelly Luegenbiehl, Netflix VP, International Originals, after hearing the streaming giant was looking for an Australian project. The Hoodlum execs had known Kelly since she worked at the US ABC network when they made their first US production, Strange Calls.
“I told Kelly the show is about a group of people who live on the outskirts of town, are disenfranchised and different and crave privacy,” Robertson says. “I felt it was something that is very relevant now. She loved the genre and the fact it is set in the world of sirens and is sexy and fun.”
Fraser had collaborated with Jakubenko and Inwood on The Shannara Chronicles. Robertson always had Pataky in mind for Adrielle but doubted she would be available for the four month shoot. But her agent Mark Morrissey loved the script and so did she.
Caroline Brazier plays Cal and Augie’s mother and Madeleine Madden is a Tidelander.
The key crew includes DOP Katie Milwright (Celeste, The Space Between), production designer Matt Putland (Harrow, Winchester) and costume designer Tess Schofield (Harrow, The Kettering Incident).
“The opportunity to be involved with world class Australian storytellers was too good to pass up,” said Luegenbiehl. “We are looking forward to working with Hoodlum Entertainment to bring this unique and mysterious Aussie series to our worldwide audience.”
Netflix has been noticeably more active in Australia with the recently announced Chris Lilley comedy commission, which is now shooting in Queensland, and the co-productions The Letdown, Pine Gap, Cargo, The New Legends of Monkey, Glitch, Bottersnikes & Gumbles, Kazoops, Mako Mermaids: An H20 Adventure and The White Rabbit Project.