'Game of Thrones' Star Natalie Dormer Joins Australian Period Drama 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'

Phillip Massey/Getty Images

The limited series, being made for Foxtel, is a reimagining of Peter Weir's 1975 classic film of the same name.

Natalie Dormer, Yael Stone and French actress Lola Bessis will headline the cast of Australian paynet Foxtel’s original period drama Picnic at Hanging Rock, which goes into production in the state of Victoria next month.

Dormer will star as English headmistress Hester Appleyard; Stone is Miss Dora Lumley, mistress of deportment and Bible studies; and Bessis plays Mademoiselle Dianne de Poitiers, mistress of French conversation, music and dance, all teachers at the Appleyard College for Young Ladies.

The limited series, based on Joan Lindsay’s iconic Australian novel of the same name, centers on the mysterious disappearance of three schoolgirls and one teacher at Hanging Rock in rural Victoria on Valentine’s Day 1900. It is being produced by FremantleMedia Australia, from scripts by Bea Christian and Alice Addison.

Peter Weir's film of the novel made in 1975 become an instant Australian classic.

Also joining the teaching cast are Anna McGahan and Sybilla Budd, while the students are being played by Lily Sullivan, Madeleine Madden, Samara Weaving, Ruby Rees and Inez Curro.

FremantleMedia Australia Director of Drama Jo Porter said: "Picnic at Hanging Rock is celebrated as an iconic, female-led story and we are thrilled to be announcing our strong and diverse cast who will bring the characters to life in the most vivid manner. 

“We have an exceptional mix and depth of established names and exciting young Australian talent. Natalie Dormer is known for her bold choices in playing powerful, smart and fearless women. Her rendering of Mrs. Appleyard is sure to be just as intriguing and complex,” she said.

Foxtel head of drama Penny Win added: “The accomplished cast who have been secured for Picnic at Hanging Rock will give new forms to Joan Lindsay’s iconic characters. Though the story remains in 1900, Picnic at Hanging Rock will be 21st century storytelling.” 

The series drew fire last year when the Australian Directors Guild complained about the hiring of Canadian director Larysa Kondracki to work on the series over Australian directors. The dispute was resolved with Fremantle adding Amanda Brotchie as a third director to work alongside Kondracki and Michael Rymer.

Agencies Screen Australia and Film Victoria are providing production investment and FremantleMedia International is distributing the series worldwide.

comments powered by Disqus