All you need to know about Picnic at Hanging Rock
WITH the long-anticipated new Foxtel series Picnic at Hanging Rock hitting our screens, here's everything you need to know.
This six-episode Australian television drama series is adapted from Joan Lindsay's 1967 novel, which tells the tale of a group of schoolgirls who disappear while on an outing to Hanging Rock in 1900. The book was made into an award-winning film, under the direction of Peter Weir, in 1975.
Hanging Rock is a six-million-year-old rock formation, also known more formally as Mount Diogenes and Dryden's Rock, located 70 kilometres from Melbourne.
The cast said they were initially excited to get dressed in their period costumes each morning, but the novelty soon wore off. Lily Sullivan, who plays Miranda in the series, said it took half an hour to get the costumes on and they would have to help each other with their corsets.
"[We] would be pulling each other into corsets, with a leg up, going 'Urgh!' Like, 'get your bloomers on, girls," she revealed.
As a result of the elaborate undergarments, the girls said they were given the nickname the "Bloomers".
Meanwhile Madeleine Madden said the white dresses also proved an issue when they all got sick one day.
"Think 16 girls in white dresses, out in the bush, then all hit by gastro ... not good," Madden laughed.
FROM GOT TO HANGING ROCK
She's known for her role as Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones, but actress Natalie Dormer said she couldn't turn down the offer to play Hester Appleyard, the English headmistress of the girls' boarding college in Hanging Rock.
Dormer explained that she likes to play "complex women who are facing their fears".
"Hester Appleyard is one of the least self aware characters I think I have ever played. She really has to go to therapy," she said.
Unlike the original Peter Weir film, Dormer said the series does offer fans some answers. "Our version poses a lot of questions about why these people are here and satisfyingly for the audience it does give some answers around why. You just have to wait until the very end."
A RISQUE LESBIAN ROMANCE
A risque lesbian romance between an indigenous schoolgirl and her teacher, as well as same sex kisses between two other girls are at the heart of the TV reboot.
The six-part reimagining of Joan Lindsay's classic 1967 novel also expands on the gay relationship which develops between a rich suitor and a local farm hand, who bond during the search for the missing.
Adding to the intrigue surrounding the bold and dazzling literary adaptation is the discovery by a young student of what appears to be a Federation-era dildo - saucing up the storyline first brought to audiences in Peter Weir's 1975 feature film.
Author Joan Lindsay wrote Picnic at Hanging Rock after having a peculiar dream, but there are also said to be remarkable similarities between the fictional Appleyard College and an outing that took place at Lindsay's own school in 1919. In reality, no one disappeared though. Incredibly, according to a Newscorp survey, 55 per cent of responders believed Lindsay's story was based on actual events and many visitors of the Rock continue to believe it's cursed. Actress Ruby Rees said odd things happened during filming.
"Lily was shooting a scene and the director of photography's watch completely stopped and Harrison Gilbertson (who plays Michael) had very spiritual dreams during filming," she said.
Picnic at Hanging Rock will make history as the first local commission to be available on Foxtel in one drop. The show has so also caused quite the buzz with reviewers who had the opportunity to see the series at the Trubeca Film Festival in April. US entertainment bible, The Hollywood Reporter described it as "a simmering nightmare drenched in lush colour, energetically shot with a propensity for psychologically unsettling Dutch angles, and powered by a surging contemporary score".
THE leading ladies of the Picnic At Hanging Rock swapped their corsetted costumes for couture at the opening night of the Berlin Film Festival's TV program, where the series was met with praise. The audience responded with a solid ovation, with the cast warmly welcomed to the stage for a Q&A session afterwards. Actress Natalie Dormer said the series told a "universal, international story".
"All the themes of liberation and rebellion, of identity, of an inner struggle with yourself," she said. "It's full of universal, timeless themes that are not specific just to Australia."
STRIKE A POSE
Madeleine Madden, Samara Weaving, Lily Sullivan and Ruby Rees appeared in Vogue Australia's April 2018 issue. In the article, Rees applauded her fellow castmates, saying: "It was an amazing, massive, powerful female cast."
Madden agreed. "You've got all these women from different backgrounds and at different points in their lives and careers and we're all coming together to tell this story through a feminist gaze about how strong women can be and what we can achieve when we come together."
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Fourteen-year-old Inez Curro gathered a few tips from her fellow cast member and Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer.
"Natalie helped me to relax on set one morning because I was tense and having a lot of trouble," Inez said.
"Natalie helped me to breathe and we did a few stretches, and it was just a great reminder that she was in the same boat.
Picnic at Hanging Rock world premiere, Sunday, May 6, 8.30pm, on Showcase or stream it on Foxtel Now.