Back are Brooke Satchwell (left) and Hazem Shammas (right). Front from left are Kate Mulvany, Sam Neill, and Marta Dusseldorp.

Sam Neill will make a welcome return to Australian TV drama in Foxtel’s The Twelve, which begins production next week.

He will be joined by Marta Dusseldorp, Kate Mulvany, Brooke Satchwell, and Hazem Shammas in the 10-part series, with the lead cast unveiled in Sydney today.

Adapted from the Belgian crime series of the same name, The Twelve tells the story of 12 jurors – ordinary Australians with struggles of their own – who are tasked with deciding the case of a woman (Mulvany) accused of killing a child.

Neill will play a Colby SC, a lawyer involved in the case, while Satchwell and Hazem Shammas form part of the jury.

Speaking at today’s announcement, Neill said there were a “number of reasons” behind his involvement in the project.

“I recognised the character,” he said.

“He was very familiar to me – I’ve got a couple of close friends in New Zealand that are QCs who could be right on that page.

“There are all sorts of issues in this that arise from the crime itself that I think are very contemporary and say a lot about Australia now.”.

The Twelve is produced by Warner Bros. Television International Australia, in partnership with Easy Tiger, with major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Foxtel, as well as financial support from Screen NSW.

Ally Henville, Ian Collie and Rob Gibson will produce for Easy Tiger, while Michael Brooks and Hamish Lewis from WB are executive producing alongside Spirit Pictures’ Liz Watts, and Foxtel’s Brian Walsh and Penny Win.

Set up director Daniel Nettheim will work from material penned by Greg Waters (script producer), Sarah Walker, Brad Winters, Anchuli Felicia King, Leah Purcell and Tommy Murphy.

Hazem Shammas, Brooke Satchwell, Kate Mulvany, Marta Dusseldorp, and Sam Neill in Sydney on Thursday.

Production will take place in various locations around Sydney across the next five months.

Satchwell, who has had roles in Foxtel’s Mr Inbetween and The End, told IF the series was an example of Foxtel and WB “aiming the arrow higher that much higher than we have before” when it came to Australian content.

“We’ve always punched above our weight but we have the small audiences and the smaller resources, comparatively with other larger markets,” she said.

“To be as bold as Foxtel, Warner Bros, and Easy Tiger want to be in telling this story is so exciting.

“There is an unfettered quality they are trying to bring to the screen across all departments and I know they are all incredibly enthused that they’ve been given the opportunity to express themselves in ways that they potentially haven’t been to with content before, particularly in the context of television drama.”

For Brooks, managing director of WB in Australia, The Twelve was a continuation of the company’s endeavour to produce great local stories for the global market.

“The Foxtel Group are an ideal partner given their backing of premium drama and we are extremely excited to be partnering with Endeavor Content globally,” he said.

“We’ve engaged a team that will deliver a story that will captivate audiences across the board and showcase the amazing talent we have on the ground locally.”

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