Entertainment TV Rachel Griffiths to play Julia Gillard in TV drama

Rachel Griffiths to play Julia Gillard in TV drama

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Rachel Griffiths is to play Julia Gillard in a new Australian television drama.

The Melbourne TV production company WTFN has acquired the film and television rights to Kerry-Anne Walsh’s book The Stalking of Julia Gillard.

Richard Keddie, whose previous credits include the TV bio-dramas Hawke and Curtin, will produce the feature-length TV drama, WTFN said on Friday.

The book tells the story of the decline and fall of Australia’s first female prime minister and the media’s role in that and the resurrection of Kevin Rudd, the man Gillard had toppled.

The project represents WTFN’s first major foray into drama after acquiring Keddie’s production house, The Film Company, earlier this year. No broadcaster has come on board, but Rachel Griffiths has signed to play Julia Gillard.

“I am thrilled to portray Australia’s first female prime minister and explore the private aspects of her remarkable term,” the actress said in a statement.

“I believe that the creative and intellectual capacity of the team involved will produce a stunning drama that will reframe this historic period in our cultural and political life.”

Keddie is WTFN’s director of drama and features. His previous political-drama credits include Hawke for Network Ten in 2010 and Curtin for the ABC in 2007.

He has also directed political advertisements featuring Gillard and Rudd.

Keddie describes the Gillard-Rudd tussle as “an incredible contemporary Australian story” and says he has already taken Griffiths to “meet with some pretty interesting people”.

“It’s a fascinating study of the 24/7 news cycle and what you will find is Kevin Rudd was a genius of the 24/7 news cycle,” he added.

WTFN says it hopes to start filming in 2014. The show is expected to screen on Australian TV in 2015.