Damon Herriman will lead the cast of ‘Riot’ as gay rights activist Lance Gowland. 

A swag of expat Australian actors will topline the new ABC telemovie, Riot.

Justified’s Damon Herriman, The Twilight Saga’s Xavier Samuel and Arrow’s Jessica de Gouw join Rake’s Kate Box as leads of the drama focused upon the 1970s Gay Rights Movement.

Herriman plays activist Lance Gowland and the telemovie will screen next year, the tenth anniversary of his passing.

Jeffrey Walker, whose romantic comedy feature Ali’s Wedding opens August 31, directs the telemovie that will shoot in Sydney over the next four weeks.  It is written by Carolyn Anderson and Greg Waters and produced by Werner Film Productions’s Joanna Werner and Louise Smith, in association with ABC Television, Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

Werner Film Productions recently released Dance Academy, which earned more than $2 million at the Australian box office after the success of the Dance Academy series for the ABC and international broadcasters.

“It could never be more relevant than now to tell this story of identity, courage and love as a marginalised community finds its voice and rises up to fight oppression and injustice,” ABC head of scripted production Sally Riley said in a statement.

“With a cast as extraordinary as this, Riot promises to be a stirring, landmark television event in time for the 40th anniversary of the birth of Mardi Gras.”

On behalf of Werner Film Productions, writer Greg Waters added, “At a time when the struggle for LGBTQ rights is far from over, it was a privilege to explore the lives of pioneering activists who sacrificed so much to drag Australia towards equality.”

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