“Romper Stomper” is heading to the U.K. after the BBC bought the Australian series, a sequel to the controversial 1992 movie of the same name that launched Russell Crowe to fame. The BBC will run the drama on its online BBC Three channel later this year.
Crowe played the lead role of Hando in the film, the head of a gang of violent neo-Nazis. The series is set 25 years later and tracks the exploits of a new generation of far-right activists, as well as the anti-fascists lining up against them. The film was Australian director Geoffrey Wright’s first, and he helms the six-part follow-up series, which was greenlit by Australian streaming service Stan.
There is no Hando in the series, but the show’s lineage is reflected in the cast, with Dan Wyllie (“Love My Way”) and Jacqueline McKenzie (“The 4400”) reprising their big-screen roles.
The cast is otherwise a mix of well-known Australian actors and newer faces. David Wenham (“Lord of the Rings”), Lachy Hulme (“Howzat!”), Sophie Lowe (“The Beautiful Lie”), Lily Sullivan (“Picnic at Hanging Rock”), Nicole Chamoun (“Ronny Chieng: International Student”), Julian Maroun (“Cleverman”), and Toby Wallace (“Boys in the Trees”) all feature.
“This is bold, compelling storytelling featuring some of Australia’s most renowned talent alongside an array of exceptional up-and-coming actors,” said BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh.
The BBC picked the series up from distributor DCD Rights, which has already sold it to SundanceTV in multiple territories. It is the second deal in recent weeks that the pubcaster has done for an Australian drama after it snapped up the upcoming “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” another project with strong movie links. BBC Three also showed Aussie drama “Barracuda” last year.
Sue Deeks is the BBC’s top buyer and did the Australian drama deals. “‘Romper Stomper’ is vibrant, thought-provoking television that will grip audiences and ask intelligent, relevant questions about the world today. We’re very excited for BBC Three viewers to see it,” she said.
With its full-throttle violence and portrayal of extremism, the 1992 movie sparked some outrage in the media at the time. A generation later, the themes seem more relevant than ever. In its review of the original movie, Variety said the “pic is well acted and directed with a certain slickness,” also noting that it was “in many ways genuinely appalling.”
John Edwards and Dan Edwards produced “Romper Stomper” for Roadshow Rough Diamond, with backing from Stan and Screen Australia, in association with Film Victoria. The series is written by Wright, Robertson, author-poet and rapper Omar Musa (“Here Come the Dogs”), and journalist and author Malcolm Knox.