Bryan Brown, Phoebe Tonkin and Ryan Corr.
Jacki Weaver, Bryan Brown, Phoebe Tonkin, Ryan Corr, Daniel Henshall and Sam Reid head the cast of Bloom, a supernatural love story packed with adventure, mystery and horror.
Commissioned by Stan and produced by Playmaker Media, the six-part drama is now shooting in Victoria, directed by John Curran in his TV debut and Mat King, who is in post-production on Screentime’s Pine Gap for the ABC and Netflix.
Scripted by Glen Dolman, the show is set one year after a devastating flood kills five locals in a country town, where a mysterious new plant appears with the power to restore their youth. It’s a miracle which some people will kill to keep secret.
After one third of the residents leave town, the remaining several hundred are trapped in a kind of purgatory, searching for answers and trying to find blame.
Weaver plays Gwen Reid, formerly a successful actress who was forced to retire as she suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s. Brown is her husband Ray, a high school teacher and former astronomer who is Gwen’s carer.
In her first Australian role since Safe Harbour, Phoebe Tonkin is a younger version of Gwen. Corr is Sam, a character with a dark past, with Henshall as Senior Constable Griffiths.
John Stanton is Max, a lonely and depressed farmer who once loved Gwen, with Sam Reid as the young Max. The cast includes Genevieve Morris, Anne Charleston, Terry Norris, Amali Golden, Nicki Sheils, Tessa Rose and Rod Mullinar.
Co-funded by Screen Australia and Film Victoria, the series is produced by Sue Seeary (Love Child, House Husbands, Bite Club) and shot by Geoffrey Hall (Wake in Fright, Wolf Creek, Red Dog: True Blue). Sony Pictures Television will distribute the series globally.
Dolman, who has been based in LA for several years, wrote the teenage drama High Life, which screened on the Nine Network, and co-wrote John Stevenson’s upcoming CGI animated comedy feature The Ark and the Aardvark.
“I’d been haunted with the idea for several years since the Queensland floods and seeing the images of the ‘inland tsunami’ that devastated towns that were completely unprepared, despite the technological age we live in,” Dolman tells IF.
“I think it’s a very human condition to believe that we have control over our lives and fates but natural disasters such as that prove otherwise. It’s the false notion of having control that often prevents us from doing what we really want to do because we think we have so much time still ahead of us, encouraging us to make safe choices we’ll later regret. So that was the genesis of the ‘fountain of youth’ idea, an opportunity to have your ‘youth’ again – to re-evaluate what’s important – but being born out of the tragedy of a natural disaster.”
Initially he intended to pitch the concept to US broadcasters because he doubted it would find a home in Australia. But he mentioned it to Playmaker Media’s David Maher and David Taylor, who responded immediately and took it to Stan. The project was in development for 18 months before getting the greenlight.
Dolman is serving as an executive producer/showrunner, which he describes as an “all-consuming role when you’re trying to write the series as well as realise it. But I have a great team around me and a wonderful crew and have had the privilege of drawing on the talents of some of the best Australian writers to help deepen and develop the idea over the years.”
Stan’s chief content officer Nick Forward said: “The assembled cast, including the remarkable Jacki Weaver, is a testament to the uniqueness of Glen’s vision, the scale of the production and the calibre of Playmaker and Sony as our local and international partners on the project.”
Screen Australia’s head of production Sally Caplan added: “Glen has done a tremendous job in localising the genre and we look forward to seeing his vision come to life, especially with the cast involved.”
Co-owner Fairfax Media last week reported Stan has 1.1 million subscribers after adding more than 100,000 in a little over two months. Subscription revenue reached just under $100 million for the financial year and Stan finished June with an annual revenue run-rate of $120 million.