Joan Lindsay’s Australian gothic mystery to end all Australian gothic mysteries is being adapted for the small screen by Foxtel.
Lindsay’s 1967 novel Picnic at Hanging Rock follows a group of schoolgirls who go missing in the Australian wilderness on Valentine’s Day, 1900. It is best known from Peter Weir’s critically acclaimed 1975 film adaptation, which featured a young Jacki Weaver and John Jarratt.
The six-part drama will be produced by FremantleMedia, the company behind Foxtel’s hit prison drama Wentworth, and has funding from Screen Australia.
Foxtel’s head of drama Penny Win said, in a statement:
“Like many others I am a fan of the 1975 Australian film which was pivotal in establishing the modern Australian film industry.
“This series, based on the classic novel, will take viewers on a new and in-depth journey into this incredibly iconic Australian story.
“Our aim is to provide a rich and diverse slate of Australian drama for our viewers. Picnic at Hanging Rock is a story that we feel will intrigue and enthral a contemporary audience.”
The TV series will be scripted by Beatrix Christian (Jindabyne) and Alice Addison (ABC’s Tomorrow When the War Began, The Principal and Devil’s Playground).
FremantleMedia’s Jo Porter said:
“It is testament to the originality of author Joan Lindsay that her novel, charting the chilling mystery of the inexplicable disappearance of the three school girls and their teacher at Hanging Rock and the secrets this event lays bare in its wake, still feels just as fresh, unsettling and relevant today.
“Bea Christian and Alice Addison’s incredible scripts are both brilliant renderings of this mystery and provocative explorations of the underlying themes of gender, control, identity and burgeoning sexuality.”
Casting is underway, and Picnic at Hanging Rock will premiere on Foxtel’s showcase channel in 2017.