On Tuesday at the ASTRA Conference in Sydney, Foxtel Chief Executive Officer Peter Tonagh announced that Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock, is set to become a six-part miniseries.
Picnic at Hanging Rock tells the story of the mysterious disappearance of schoolgirls Miranda, Marion and Irma and their governess, Miss McCraw, on Valentine’s Day 1900. The schoolgirls are drawn to a rock formation by supernatural forces during a picnic. They become dazed and confused and are lost within the boulders and crevices, never to be heard from again.
In 1975, Peter Weir directed the film version starring Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard, Helene Morse and young Jacki Weaver. ‘The 1975 film which was pivotal in establishing the modern Australian film industry. This series, based on the classic novel, will take viewers on a new and in-depth journey into this incredibly iconic Australian story,’ said Foxtel’s Penny Win.
This reboot will be produced by Antonia Barnard with executive producers Jo Porter and Anthony Ellis of FremantleMedia, in collaboration with Foxtel, Federal Film, and Screen Australia.
‘It is [a] testament to the originality of author Joan Lindsay that her novel, charting the chilling mystery of the inexplicable disappearance of the three schoolgirls and their teacher at Hanging Rock, still feels just as fresh, unsettling and relevant today,’ said executive producer Jo Porter.
The miniseries, to be aired on Showcase in 2017, will be written by Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison and will explore ‘the underlying themes of gender, control, identity and burgeoning sexuality.’
To this day, the novel and film adaption continue to grip audiences spurred by Joan Lindsay’s ambiguity as to whether the story is fact or fiction. The continual fascination with the disappearances is credit to Lindsay who created an unnerving story which leaves you spellbound and still lures tourists to Hanging Rock much like the girls who were lured to the area. There’s no doubt that the new miniseries will invigorate the legend.