Filming is underway in Melbourne and regional Victoria on the six-part anthology drama FIRES. Starring an international rollcall of Australian talent, the series is inspired by extraordinary accounts from people who survived the catastrophic fire season in Australia of late 2019 and early 2020.
Produced by Tony Ayres Productions (TAP), FIRES impressive cast includes Eliza Scanlen (Babyteeth, Sharp Objects), Sam Worthington (Avatar, Hacksaw Ridge), Richard Roxburgh (The Crown, Rake), Sullivan Stapleton (Blindspot, Animal Kingdom), Miranda Otto (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Homeland), Hunter Page-Lochard (Harrow, Cleverman), Anna Torv (Mindhunter, Secret City), Kate Box (Stateless, Wentworth), Helana Sawires (Stateless, Ali’s Wedding), Daniel Henshall (Defending Jacob, Lambs of God) and Noni Hazlehurst (A Place to Call Home, Ladies in Black). They are joined by exciting newcomers Ameshol Ajang, Stacy Clausen and Nyawuda Chuol in a true ensemble cast.
The Newsreader digs behind some of the most iconic stories of our time for an intimate, vital look at an era of great change.
In the maelstrom of a commercial television newsroom in 1986, Dale Jennings (Sam Reid, Anonymous, Belle) is a diligent young reporter, desperate to become a newsreader. Helen Norville (Anna Torv, Fringe, Mindhunter) is a notoriously ‘difficult’ star newsreader determined to build credibility. Paired together over three months, Dale and Helen will cover an extraordinary chain of news events— from the shock of the Challenger explosion, to the hype of Halley’s Comet, to the complexities of the AIDS crisis. From messy beginnings, a deep bond is formed that will upend their lives and transform the very fabric of the nightly news bulletin. This is a story of a grand, unconventional relationship in a world on the cusp of change.
The Newsreader is set in the frantic, busy heart of the of a commercial TV newsroom. Thanks to the dazzling immediacy of satellite images, by 1986, TV had usurped newspapers to become the world’s preferred news source. Leading newsreaders had become national icons. Lions of composure and masculinity, these newsreaders— always stately older men with God-like voices— drew audiences of millions every night. The Newsreader centres on the relationship between two very different characters, both outside the standard, masculine model of a newsreader, both determined to rise to the very top of the commercial news world.
Like Mad Men, the series examines the politics and power structure of one workplace as a way of interrogating an entire era. Like James Brooks’ classic film Broadcast News, the pace will be fast, and the series will embrace both the humorous and the tragic aspects of our characters. Avoiding painting characters as heroes or villains, The Newsreader will build an ensemble that sings with both tension and rapport.
Dale reads every paper cover to cover, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of news archives. But despite all that diligence, Dale doesn’t quite fit the brand. His voice lacks gravitas, he’s slightly stilted on camera… and he seems to be perpetually single. The carefully guarded truth is, Dale is also attracted to men. He’s only acted on this attraction once— with a boy at his school; an affair that was brutally exposed… an affair that Dale has dedicated his life to denying.
He knows that no achievement would reverse that teenage scandal more emphatically than ascending to the position of nightly newsreader.
But for all his hard work, all his dedication, he can’t get an opportunity to step up. He remains in a personal and professional rut. But then, fate throws him together… with newsreader Helen Norville.
She is as glamorous and outgoing as Dale is timid. In a bid to lift ratings, she was recruited in ’84 to sit beside long-time ‘king of news’ Geoff Walters (Robert Taylor, Longmire, Focus), reading some of the ‘lighter’ stories.
Off screen, Helen she has fast developed a ‘reputation’. If Dale is too gentle and passive to cut through, Helen has the opposite problem – she’s just ‘too much’: too emotional, too demanding, too opinionated.
Thrown together in the heat of the newsroom, this unlikely pair will navigate some of the most iconic stories of the time; from the sudden devastation of the Challenger explosion; to the misbegotten hype of Halley’s Comet; to the pageantry of the Fergie and Andrew Royal Wedding. And when their relationship becomes romantic… both of them can feel an unexpected, but palpable career boost. Their romance allays the simmering concern over Dale’s masculinity; and it lends Helen an air of stability, and respectability.
Over time, they become an undeniable duo, a ‘golden couple’ of news. But at what cost…? Over the course of six episodes Dale and Helen will go on a dizzyingly broad and unpredictable arc. Their relationship sits in the cross-hairs of so many of the key changes of the era— the emergence of the gay rights movement, the increased presence of women in the workforce, the rise of materialism, the spread of mass-media. Their personal story will play out alongside some of the most iconic news stories of the era, and The Newsreader will draw on real news archives to evoke the world as it was three decades ago.
ABC and Screen Australia are thrilled to announce production is currently underway in Melbourne on the six-part drama series The Newsreader. Produced by Werner Film Productions (Riot, Dance Academy) and created by Michael Lucas (Five Bedrooms, Offspring), The Newsreader is set in the maelstrom of a commercial television newsroom in 1986.
Starring Anna Torv (Mindhunter, Secret City, Fringe) as Helen Norville, a notoriously difficult star anchor determined to build credibility and Sam Reid (Lambs of God, The Hunting) as Dale Jennings, a diligent young reporter, desperate for a shot at the desk. Together, they’ll cover an extraordinary chain of breaking news including the shock of the Challenger explosion, the misbegotten hype of Halley’s Comet and the global terror of Chernobyl. From messy beginnings, a deep bond is formed that will upend their lives and transform the very fabric of the nightly news bulletin. (more…)
From STAR WARS to GAME OF THRONES and WENTWORTH, screen fans and industry can hear from some of the biggest names in entertainment thanks to a new online festival AACTA ScreenFest, coming to our screens this November.
AACTA will present over 40 free online events as part of ScreenFest, including cast and crew conversations, masterclasses, international film and TV showcases, the best short films made this year, special event screenings, online gaming events as well as sessions with social media content creators.
Talented on-screen and behind-the-scenes names form an important part of ScreenFest, including Anna Torv (MINDHUNTER, SECRET CITY) and cinematographer Greig Fraser, fresh from his Emmy win for THE MANDALORIAN and ahead of the hotly anticipated DUNE and THE BATMAN. Australian Production Designer and four-time Emmy winner Deborah Riley will also take audiences behind the curtains of GAME OF THRONES, while Australia’s Oscar-winning short filmmakers Shaun Tan and Adam Elliot will lead masterclasses on drawing for screen, story formation and animation. (more…)
Ever since the second season of Netflix’s period FBI-agents-and-serial-killers drama Mindhunter was released 14 months ago, fans have been wondering about the possibility of one more round. Hopes flagged when the show’s leads, Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, and Anna Torv, were released from their contracts in January and the show was put on “indefinite hold.” Now, David Fincher, Mindhunter’s executive producer, most frequent director, and de facto showrunner, has seemed to confirmed that the Pittsburgh-shot series is indeed two-and-done. “We lived there for almost three years,” he said during an interview about his new film Mank. “Not year in and year out, but … probably six or seven months a year … Mindhunter was a lot for me.”
Fincher says that at the start of the second season, he “ended up looking at what was written and deciding I didn’t like any of it, so we tossed it and started over.” He promoted Courtenay Miles, who had been working on the series as an assistant director, to co-showrun; still, he said, “It’s a 90-hour workweek. It absorbs everything in your life. When I got done, I was pretty exhausted, and I said, ‘I don’t know if I have it in me right now to break season three.’” Netflix didn’t argue; CEO Ted Sarandos and Cindy Holland, at the time the company’s VP for original content, just asked Fincher if there was something else he wanted to work on (thus Mank).
“Listen, for the viewership that it had, it was a very expensive show,” Fincher said. “We talked about, ‘Finish Mank and then see how you feel,’ but I honestly don’t think we’re going to be able to do it for less than I did season two. And on some level, you have to be realistic — dollars have to equal eyeballs.” Apparently, that math does not work in Mindhunter’s favor, although Netflix is willing to keep the door a tiny crack open. Confirming that a third season was not in the offing, a spokesperson added, “Maybe in five years.” Credit: Variety
Cue Agent Holden Ford’s next death glare: A potential third season of Mindhunter has been put on indefinite hold and cast members Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany and Anna Torv have been released from their contracts. Exec producer David Fincher’s busy schedule precipitated the move. The show has not, however, been cancelled.
“David is focused on directing his first Netflix film Mank and on producing the second season of Love, Death and Robots,” a Netflix rep said in a statement to TVLine. “He may revisit Mindhunter again in the future, but in the meantime felt it wasn’t fair to the actors to hold them from seeking other work while he was exploring new work of his own.”
Fincher’s slow-burn psychological thriller centered on two FBI agents (Groff and McCallany) and a psychologist (Torv) working withinthe bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit. Together, the trio interviewed serial killers to get a better understanding of their motivations and to (hopefully) solve ongoing cases.
Season 2, which consisted of eight episodes and premiered in August, centered on the Atlanta child murders in 1979-81, during which African-American serial killer Wayne Williams was tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for killing two adult males. Williams, however, was never tried for any of the child murders, 23 of which he was suspected of being involved with.
Other serial killers to be featured in Season 2 include Charles Manson (played by Justified‘s Damon Herriman) and David Berkowitz aka “Son of Sam.” Credit: TVLine
An exclusive screening of Mindhunter and conversation with David Fincher, Holt McCallany, and Anna Torv has just been added to the Paley Previews LA lineup on September 15th, 2019! Doors open and a reception will be held at 6:00pm. A screening and conversation will follow at 7:00pm. Tickets are available HERE.
Nextflix Presents Mindhunter:
Sunday, September 15, 2019
6:00 pm Preview Reception
7:00 pm Screening and conversation
Featured talent from Mindhunter includes: David Fincher, Executive Producer & Director Holt McCallany, “Bill Tench” Anna Torv, “Dr. Wendy Carr”
Paley Center Member Tickets- $15 each
General Public Tickets – $20 each
Netflix’s gripping, unsettling psychological drama Mindhunter is a show in which two men – FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) – interview dozens of incarcerated serial killers in the 1970s, developing the methodology we now know as criminal profiling. Between the male-dominated Bureau and the (so far) entirely male interview subjects, the show could easily become a testosterone fest.
But it never does, thanks, in part, to its numerous female writers, and in part to Anna Torv’s commanding, nuanced performance as Dr. Wendy Carr. A psychology professor hired to bring scientific legitimacy to Ford and Tench’s nascent work, Wendy’s role is to analyze what serial killers say about themselves and develop insights from there. As was hinted in season one and becomes much clearer in season two, Wendy’s unflappable exterior belies a complex inner life: she is gay, and unable to be publicly out in an era where homosexuality had only recently been removed from the DSM as a mental disorder.
ELLE.com sat down with Torv to discuss Wendy’s experience as a closeted woman in the 1970s, our cultural fascination with Charles Manson, and why it matters that Wendy is not “the heart” of Mindhunter. (more…)