Foxtel has confirmed the highly anticipated political thriller series Secret City – starring Jacki Weaver, Anna Torv, Alan Dale and Dan Wyllie - will premiere Sunday June 5 at 8.30pm on the showcase channel.
Filmed in Parliament House and locations across Canberra and Sydney, Secret City is inspired by the best-selling novels The Marmalade Files and The Mandarin Code, written by Canberra political journalists Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis.
Amidst rising tension between China and America, Canberra press gallery journalist Harriet Dunkley (played by Anna Torv) forces her way closer to the truth, uncovering a secret city of interlocked conspiracies which will threaten her career, her life and endangers the freedom of every Australian.
Joining Torv is two-time Academy Award nominee Jacki Weaver, who makes a stunning return to Australian television in the role of Labor powerbroker Senator Catriona Bailey. Ms Weaver said of returning to Australia to star in Secret City:
“I loved the story and I loved the character,” she said. “It’s very authentic because the books were written by two insiders, Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis. Secret City tells behind-the-scenes of the machinations and the treachery and the interesting things that occur in politics.
“Catriona is a very powerful and ambitious woman. I've drawn inspiration, not from any one female politician in particular, but part of my character is based on an amalgam of female politicians I've seen, not just in Australia, but all over the world. I find politics fascinating, and I follow it closely, both in America where I now live most of the time, and here at home in Australia.”
The top Australian and international cast includes:
Dan Wyllie as Minister of Defence Mal Paxton
Damon Herriman as ASD senior analyst Kim Gordon
Alex Dimitriades as ASIO officer Charles Dancer
Alan Dale as Australian Prime Minister Martin Toohey
Mekhi Phifer as US Ambassador Moreton
Sacha Horler as the PM’s Chief of Staff, Ludie Sypek
Marcus Graham as Daily Nation political correspondent Andrew “Griff” Griffiths
Miranda Tapsell as Daily Nation Canberra journalist Sasha Rose
Eugenia Yuan as Weng Meigui, wife of the Chinese ambassador
Benedict Samuel as Canberra University tutor Felix Crawford
Brenna Harding as Canberra University student Cassie Page
Matt Zeremes as Senior Constable Sean Brimmer
Sean Taylor as ASIO Director General Paul Wheeler
Justin Smith as ASD Director William Vaughn
Huw Higginson as Daily Nation Bureau Chief
Foxtel Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh said:
“This captivating new series is another huge moment for Foxtel’s commitment to Australian drama. There is no doubt of the level of interest in national affairs at the moment, and this series will immerse viewers into the un-tapped world of Australian politics and intrigue – not to mention power play, blackmail and murder. Canberra features as its own character, and the standout performances of Jacki Weaver and Anna Torv are world class”.
Secret City is a Matchbox Pictures production for Foxtel, in association with Werner Film Productions, supported by Screen Australia, Screen ACT and Screen NSW, directed by Emma Freeman (Glitch, Tangle, Hawke, Puberty Blues) and produced by Joanna Werner (Dance Academy, Ready For This). Executive Producers are Foxtel’s Head of Drama Penny Win, and Penny Chapman, from Matchbox Pictures.
Matchbox Pictures’ Penny Chapman said:
"Chris and Steve brought Matchbox this idea when their first book was in manuscript stage. It has been a wild and wonderful ride and I am enormously proud of the creative team that brought it to the screen. It's exciting to be partnering yet again on a drama production with Foxtel who are doing such great things for television fiction in Australia."
Producer Joanna Werner said:
“We have been extremely lucky to have such a talented cast and crew working on Secret City. Our director Emma Freeman has done a superb job in bringing this intense political thriller to life and our cast, led by Jacki, Anna and Dan, who are all incredibly impressive.”
Secret City has been written by Matt Cameron (Jack Irish, Old School), Belinda Chayko (The Gods of Wheat Street, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Old School) and Greg Waters (Janet King, Devil’s Dust), who is also Script Producer.