The ANZAC spirit will be celebrated in two miniseries that received funding on Tuesday from Screen Australia. While both projects had been announced, the cast for ANZAC Girls has been revealed and it’s been confirmed that Sam Worthington is highly likely to star in The Gallipoli Story.
Also funded was Catching Milat, a two-part telemovie recounting the investigation that led to the arrest of serial killer Ivan Milat.
Produced by Screentime for ABC TV, ANZAC Girls will chronicle the true story of five young military nurses from Australia and New Zealand who experienced horror, heartbreak and triumph caring for the soldiers at Gallipoli and the Western Front.
The six-part series will star Georgia Flood (House Husbands, Wentworth, Tangle), Antonia Prebble (Outrageous Fortune, The Blue Rose, Super City), Laura Brent (A Few Best Men, Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Anna McGahan (House Husbands, Mystery of a Hansom Cab, Underbelly: Razor) and Caroline Craig (Underbelly, Dangerous Remedy, Blue Heelers).
Based on the book The Other Anzacs by Peter Rees, which draws on the diaries, letters, photographs and historical achievements of five women who witnessed the brutality of war, the series will shoot in South Australia next month.
The writers are Felicity Packard and Niki Aken; the producers are Lisa Scott and Felicity Packard. Ken Cameron (Dangerous Remedy, Brides of Christ, Bangkok Hilton) and Ian Watson (Janet King, Killing Time, Love My Way) will direct.
Screentime’s Des Monaghan and Greg Haddrick are executive producers with the ABC’s Carole Sklan and David Ogilvy. Roadshow Entertainment has the Australian DVD rights and All3Media is handling international sales.
Matchbox Pictures and Worthington’s Full Clip Pictures will produce The Gallipoli Story, a four-part mini-series produced for Foxtel, which will follow three journalists, Charles Bean, Ellis Ashmead Bartlett and Philip Schuler, who accompanied the troops to Gallipoli in 1915 and how their quest for the truth helped change the war’s course.
The screenplay is by Jacquelin Perske, Shaun Grant, Cate Shortland and Stuart Beattie. The producers are Penny Chapman, John Schwartz and Jacquelin Perske. The director hasn’t been announced yet.
Shooting is due to start next February, probably in South Australia. Chapman told IF it is “highly likely Sam will play a role; I am very optimistic.” It’s unclear which of the three journos he’d play. Worthington, Penny Win, Michael McMahon, Michael Schwarz and Luca Scalisi are executive producers. NBCUniversal will sell the project internationally.
Separately Southern Star Entertainment's John Edwards and Imogen Banks are developing the mini Gallipoli for the Nine Network, also backed by Screen Australia.
Shine Australia will produce Catching Milat for the Seven Network. The writer is Justin Monjo, Peter Andrikidis is directing with Kerrie Mainwaring as the producer. The narrative will focus on Detective Peter Gordon’s efforts to find the killer..