Filming has started in Melbourne on The Warriors, an eight-part Indigenous comedy drama for the ABC.
Lisa McCune, John Howard and Vince Colosimo will star alongside a cast of emerging Indigenous actors.
The Warriors, which explores the world of Aussie Rules, is the brainchild of Tony Briggs (The Sapphires) and Robert Connolly (Paper Planes, Barracuda).
The series has been exclusively written and directed by Indigenous Australians, including Jon Bell (Cleverman), Briggs and newcomer Tracey Rigney.
Directors include Adrian Russell Wills (Wentworth), Beck Cole (Black Comedy), Steven McGregor (Croker Island Exodus, Redfern Now), Catriona McKenzie (The Circuit, Redfern Now and The Gods of Wheat Street).
Producers are Connolly, John Harvey and Liz Kearney, and Justin Monjo is story producer.
The Warriors follows two new AFL recruits – plucked from obscurity into fame and fortune – and two established players, who have been thrown together into a share house in Melbourne.
After a nationwide casting search, Gordan Churchill will make his acting debut as Maki, the number one draft pick. Churchill was discovered in the remote Indigenous community of Warnum in the Kimberley Region. The series also introduces WAAPA graduate Nelson Baker as Zane, the number five draft pick.
McCune will star as the team’scommunications manager, while Colosimo plays the coach. Club president, footy legend Bill Shepherd, will be played by Howard.
Ben Knight plays Scottie who is returning from his third knee reconstruction, and Reece Milne (Home and Away) plays Doc, the seasoned team-captain charged with showing the rookies the ropes. Newcomer Tasia Zalar will play Zane’s sister Ava.
The Warriors is an Arenamedia production, in association with Screen Australia, ABC and Film Victoria.
“What attracted us to this project was both the concept of following four mischievous footballers experiencing the highs, lows and often funny situations of life as an elite athlete, as well as the opportunity for Indigenous creatives to partner with highly regarded practitioners and accelerate along their career trajectory” said Screen Australia’s head of Indigenous, Penny Smallacombe.
“Film Victoria is delighted to be supporting the team behind The Warriors and also providing skills development opportunities for a number of Victorian Indigenous screen practitioners” said Film Victoria CEO Jenni Tosi.
“The Warriors is a wild ride that sees our characters teeter between temptation and dedication with the added layer of cross-cultural relations. It’s brilliant to be able to deal with this subject matter through a no-holds-barred comedy” said the ABC’s head of scripted production, Sally Riley.
Executive producer for Screen Australia is Smallacombe, and Riley and Jo Bell are executive proudcers for the ABC. eOne’s Jude Troy is also an EP.
The Warriors will air on the ABC in 2017. eOne will be in charge of international distribution.