Kodi Smit-McPhee, Harry Greenwood, Tom Budge, Lincoln Lewis, Matt Nable, Anthony Hayes, Lachy Hulme and Ashleigh Cummings are among the big ensemble cast announced today for the Endemol Australia/Nine Network miniseries Gallipoli.
A three-month shoot starts in and around Melbourne on March 17 with Glendyn Ivin (Beaconsfield, Puberty Blues) directing.
The screenplay by Christopher Lee (Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War, Paper Giants, Rush, Police Rescue) is adapted from the best-selling book by Les Carlyon.
The producers are John Edwards (Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War, Beaconsfield, Paper Giants, and Offspring), Imogen Banks (Puberty Blues, Offspring) and Robert Connolly (producer of Balibo and The Boys, director of Underground: The Julian Assange Story, The Slap). Nine’s co-Heads of Drama Jo Rooney and Andy Ryan and Endemol Australia CEO Janeen Faithfull are executive producers.
Smit-McPhee plays 17-year-old Thomas “Tolly” Johnson, who lies about his age to enlist with his brother Bevan in the Great War and finds himself at Gallipoli, caught up in the chaos and key battles.
Smit-McPhee co-starred with Eric Bana in Romulus My Father. His first US role was in The Road opposite Viggo Mortensen. His later credits include Let Me In, ParaNorman, The Congress, Matching Jack and Dead Europe.
Next he will be seen in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (opening July 10) with Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, and Keri Russell, and in See Saw Films’ Slow West with Michael Fassbender and Ben Mendelsohn.
As dawn breaks on April 25, 1915, ANZAC troops go into battle on the beaches of the Gallipoli peninsula. Tolly, Bevan and their mates struggle to establish a foothold on the treacherous slopes and deep ravines. For the next eight months on the peninsula they learn lessons of survival.
Harry Greenwood (Kokoda) plays Bevan Johnson alongside Sam Parsonson (Love My Way, Bikie Wars), Tom Budge (The Pacific, Mabo), Travis Jeffery (Return to the Devil’s Playground, ANZAC Girls), Dion Williams (Redfern Now, The Time of Our Lives) and Lincoln Lewis (Tomorrow, When the War Began, Underbelly: Razor, Home and Away, House Husbands).
Playing senior officers are Matt Nable (Underbelly: Badness, Bikie Wars), Jeremy Lindsay Taylor (Underbelly: Razor, Puberty Blues, Serangoon Road) and Anthony Hayes (Devil’s Dust, The Broken Shore, Bikie Wars).
Lachy Hulme (Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War, Offspring, Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story) is cast as Lord Kitchener and James Callis (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Battlestar Galactica, Bridget Jones’ Diary) will play English journalist Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett.
Puberty Blues’ Ashleigh Cummings plays Bevan’s girlfriend. More cast will be announced shortly. The miniseries will air in 2015. Gallipoli will be distributed internationally by Endemol Worldwide Distribution.
Edwards has said he does not see Foxtel’s The Gallipoli Story as a rival project, given the very different approaches to the subject. Produced by Matchbox Pictures and Sam Worthington’s Full Clip, The Gallipoli Story will focus on the team of journalists who were embedded at Gallipoli and how they triggered the decision to end the campaign.
That starts shooting South Australia mid-2014, with Sam Worthington as executive producer and in a starring role, and Michael Rymer directing.