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‘Game of Thrones’ Actress Natalie Dormer Joins ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’

Game of Thrones” and “The Hunger Games” actress Natalie Dormer is to star as English headmistress Hester Appleyard in Foxtel’s six-part drama “Picnic at Hanging Rock.”

The FremantleMedia Australia production, described as a “re-imagining” of Joan Lindsay’s novel, centers on the mysterious disappearance of three schoolgirls and a teacher on Valentine’s Day in 1900.

The teachers of Appleyard College for Young Ladies will be played by French actress Lola Bessis (“Cassandra,” “Swim Little Fish Swim”), recently included in Interview magazine’s list of “Hollywood’s most wanted” acting talent; Yael Stone (“Orange Is the New Black,” “Deep Water”); Anna McGahan (“The Doctor Blake Mysteries,” “Anzac Girls”); and Sibylla Budd (“Tomorrow When the War Began,” “Winners & Losers”).

Shooting starts in Victoria, Australia, later this month. Screen Australia and Film Victoria have contributed production investment.

Foxtel head of drama Penny Win said: “The accomplished cast … will give new forms to Joan Lindsay’s iconic characters as the actors take up the scripts our writers, Bea Christian and Alice Addison, have drawn from the provocative spirit of the original mystery. Though the story remains in 1900, ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ will be 21st-century storytelling.”

FremantleMedia Australia director of drama Jo Porter added that the production would “redefine [the novel’s] characters for a new generation.”

Executive producers are FremantleMedia Australia’s Porter and Anthony Ellis, and Foxtel’s Win. The producer is Ewan Burnett; writers are Christian and Addison; and directors are Larysa Kondracki, Michael Rymer and Amanda Brotchie.

FremantleMedia Intl. is distributing the series worldwide.

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