Sam Worthington to Produce World War I Miniseries for Australia's Foxtel

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Sam Worthington

The six-hour series will mark the 100th anniversary of the bungled Gallipoli campaign that involved a team of journalists including Rupert Murdoch's father.

SYDNEY -- Sam Worthington’s FullClip Productions and NBCUniversal International’s Australian production company, Matchbox Pictures, are set to co-produce a six-hour miniseries based on the seminal Gallipoli campaign of World War I for Foxtel, the pay TV giant said Thursday.

The series focuses on the team of journalists, including Keith Murdoch -- father of Rupert -- who were embedded at Gallipoli in Turkey and tells the story of how they triggered the decision to end the bungled campaign, at which tens of thousands of Australian, New Zealand, British and Turkish lives were lost.

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April 25, 2015, marks the centenary of the ill-fated landings of allied forces, which were to attack Constantinople and knock Turkey out of the war, at what is now known as Anzac Cove. The series will go into production in 2013.

The project will explore the story of the war correspondents’ relationships with the young soldiers sent to Gallipoli to fight, their growing realization that British command was tragically unprepared for the campaign and their efforts to get their stories out, despite a brutal censorship regime.

Australia’s Murdoch, Charles Bean and Phillip Schuler and Britain’s colorful Ellis Ashmead Bartlett are all central figures in the drama.

“FullClip are excited to be working alongside Matchbox and Foxtel to tell the important story of the Gallipoli campaign from a fresh and original perspective, a time that has in many ways defined our spirit and national identity,” Worthington said in a statement.

He is yet to decide if he will join the cast of the series.

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“The people who chronicle a war can provide profound insights into what happens there," Matchbox Pictures’ Penny Chapman said. "At Gallipoli, these men lived with both soldiers and the commanders and did battle with the censors as they sought to make sense of a crumbling campaign and to stand witness for the men who fought it."

Added Brian Walsh, Foxtel executive director of television: “Sam Worthington has brought to Foxtel a rich and riveting concept and a story of great significance. I am delighted Sam and the team at Matchbox Pictures have chosen Foxtel as the broadcaster for this symbolic television drama series. It will be one of many initiatives Foxtel will undertake in 2015 to mark the 100th year since the devastating loss of lives on the shores of Gallipoli.”

The series writers are Jacquelin Perske (Little Fish, Love My Way, Spirited), Cate Shortland (The Slap, Somersault), Shaun Grant (Snowtown, Killing Time) and Wain Fimeri (Charles Bean’s Great War).

Worthington, Chapman and John Schwarz of FullClip will executive produce. FullClip, based in Los Angeles, has a first-look deal with NBCUniversal International.

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Worthington will next star in 3D action thriller Thunder Run, while a release date for the Australian 1970s-set surf move Drift, in which he also stars, is yet to be announced.

Matchbox Pictures, which produced the  acclaimed drama series The Slap, is  in production on Underground, a telemovie about the young Julian Assange, starring Anthony La Paglia and Rachel Griffiths.

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