Natalie Dormer (“Game of Thrones,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay”) has scored the lead role in the new adaptation of Joan Lindsay’s novel “Picnic At Hanging Rock” for Australian cable provider Foxtel.
Previously adapted for the screen into the iconic 1975 Peter Weir movie, the story is set on Valentine’s Day 1900 in the Australian state of Victoria as a private girls’ boarding school goes on a day long excursion to the nearby geological formation Hanging Rock.
During the day three students and one teacher vanish without a trace. A fourth girl, bruised and panic can’t remember what happened. Police searches find nothing, days later one of the girls is found barely alive, delirious and with no memory.
At the time of release it was widely (and incorrectly) regarded as being based on a true story, and frustrated some with the fact that the mystery never truly gets solved. That said, its legacy as essentially a perfect film and one of the great Australian films ever made has long been cemented and it has gone on to influence countless other works.
The new adaptation, a six-part event series, is set to start filming in Victoria later this month and will produced by FremantleMedia, Screen Australia and Film Victoria. Dormer will star as English headmistress Mrs Hester Appleyard.
The key student roles include Lily Sullivan as Miranda, Madeleine Madden as Marion, Samara Weaving as Irma, Ruby Rees as Edith, and Inez Curro as Sara Waybourne.
The teachers include Lola Bessis as Mademoiselle Dianne de Poitiers, Yael Stone as Miss Dora Lumley, Anna McGahan as Miss Greta McCraw and Sibylla Budd as Mrs Valange.
Other characters will be played by Don Hany, Harrison Gilbertson, James Hoare, Marcus Graham, Mark Coles Smith, Jonny Pasvolsky, Philip Quast, Emily Gruhl, John Flaus, Ros Gentle, Julie Nihill, Kaarin Fairfax, Randall Berger, Mayah Fredes, Alyssa Tuddenham, Kate Bradford, Bethany Whitmore, Markella Kavenagh, Felix Johnson, Ines English, Huw Higginson, Rob Jacobson and Kim Gyngell.
The series will premiere on Foxtel’s Showcase channel at a later date.