After immersing himself in WW1 as the director of the Nine Network’s Gallipoli, Glendyn Ivin is looking forward to exploring myriad forms of love.

Ivin has just started pre-production on The Beautiful Lie, a contemporary re-imagining of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel Anna Karenina.

While the tone and setting could not be further apart, Ivin sees a common element: “Both are emotionally driven.”

Commissioned by the ABC, the 6-part series is the director’s fourth collaboration with Endemol Australia’s John Edwards and Imogen Banks. Their first was Offspring, followed by Puberty Blues and Gallipoli.

Scripted by Alice Bell, Jonathan Gavin and Blake Ayshford, the drama is billed as a sprawling saga of adultery, scandal, manners and mayhem involving three enmeshed families across three generations.

Ivin hasn’t read the novel but he’s seen two earlier versions: Joe Wright’s 2012 film Anna Karenina, which starred Keira Knightley and Jude Law; and Bernard Rose’s 1997 pic featuring Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean.

“When we were doing Gallipoli John (Edwards) talked a lot about The Beautiful Lie and urged me to read Alice’s script,” he says. “I worked with Alice on Puberty Blues and creatively we are simpatico. When John and Imo assembled this amazing creative team I was won over. We will be looking at the different ways to love, love in all its variations.”

The DoP is John Brawley and Elizabeth Mary Moore is the production designer, both Puberty Blues alumni. Shooting will take place in Melbourne in the second half of this year.

Edwards had wanted to make a TV series inspired by Tolstoy’s novel for more than 10 years. “The psychology of the story is very compelling and entirely contemporary,” he says.

The protagonists are Anna and her husband Alex, fifteen years her senior, who both live off the spoils of their high profile sporting careers. Anna manages to juggle career and family until her brother Kingsley is caught philandering and she is called on to intervene. She finds herself dangerously attracted to Skeet, a charming dilettante who has rejected the apparently innocent Kitty.

With producers Bianca Martino and Ayisha Davies, the director has been developing the feature One Foot Wrong, a thriller about a five-year-old girl who makes friends and communicates with inanimate objects like trees and spoons, scripted by Greg Mclean and based on a novel by Sophie Laguna.

Ivin says, “I like the immediacy of TV and the storytelling. It feels just as satisfying as features, but it happens a lot quicker."

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