Production set to begin on ABC1 telemovie Carlotta, starring Jessica Marais

22 April, 2013 by Emily Blatchford

Jessica Marais will star as transgender Les Girls performer Carlotta in a new telemovie for ABC 1.

Carlotta follows the life of the transgender pioneer, who was born as Richard Byron before transforming into Carol and, on stage, Carlotta in the 1970s.


Written by David Hannum, with story consultation from Carlotta, the film will be directed by Samantha Lang (My Place, The Monkey’s Mask) and will feature an acclaimed cast, including Caroline O’Connor, Alex Dimitriades, Anita Hegh, Eamon Farren and Paul Capsis.

Carlotta will be produced by Riccardo Pellizzeri (Underbelly: NZ, Siege, MDA, Blue Heelers) and Lara Radulovich (Wentworth, Neighbours) with the ABC’s Carole Sklan and Christopher Gist as executive producers. Developed by Pellizzeri and Radulovich, Carlotta is being produced by their new production company Story Ark Productions.

Producers Lara Radulovich and Riccardo Pellizzeri said, “This has been a passion project of ours for many years and we are delighted to be bringing Carlotta’s story to the screen. A love story and an outsider tale about an exceptional woman’s desire to be ordinary, hers is an extraordinary life, lived in changing times.”

Story consultant Carlotta said “I am absolutely delighted and flattered that this story is being brought to the screen as my main motivation is to show anyone who may be struggling with their gender, or struggling to gain acceptance from their family and society at large – that you can do it. Stand tall, know who you are and be proud of yourself, as acceptance comes from within."

ABC TV Head of Fiction, Carole Sklan said, “The ABC has been dramatising stories of remarkable Australians, from Eddie Mabo to Bernie Banton, individuals who have gone against the grain and contributed to social change. We are thrilled Jessica Marais is playing the remarkable Carlotta.”

Carlotta will begin production on May 6 and will be shot in Sydney.