Netflix Swoops in for Global Rights to Cate Blanchett Refugee Drama ‘Stateless’ (EXCLUSIVE)

NBCUniversal International Studios/Matchbox Pictures/Dirty Pictures

Netflix has swooped in and taken global rights outside Australia to the Cate Blanchett-starring and exec-produced refugee drama series “Stateless,” following its world premiere in Berlin this week.

Australian public broadcaster ABC, which commissioned the six-part series, will air “Stateless” on March 1, with the streaming giant going out later this year. It is believed the show was a straight acquisition for the platform. “Stateless” is produced by Matchbox Pictures along with Blanchett and Andrew Upton’s production banner Dirty Films.

A timely story five years in the making, the series follows four people caught up in an immigration system that severely impacts their lives, with each character confronting issues around protection and border control in a different way. Australia, in particular, has a troubling track record around immigration and its handling of refugees looking to enter the country.

The show’s central quartet includes an flight attendant on the run from a cult; an Afghan refugee seeking a new life with his wife and two children; a young father of three struggling to make ends meet; and an ambitious bureaucrat caught between professional ambitions and a national scandal. All four lives intersect at an immigration detention center in the middle of the desert.

The show was co-created by Blanchett, Tony Ayres and Elise McCredie — who have known each other since school and university — and co-stars Yvonne Strahovski, Dominic West, Jai Courtney, Asher Keddie (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), Fayssal Bazzi (“The Merger”) and newcomer Soraya Heidari.

Blanchett, Ayres and McCredie said: “’Stateless’ has been a labor of love for many years and we could not be more thrilled that it will reach an international audience on Netflix. The issues addressed in the series have universal resonance but have been cloaked in silence and muddied by fear and misinformation.

“Our hope is that ‘Stateless’ will generate a global conversation around our systems of border protection and how our humanity has been affected by them.”

Alastair McKinnon, managing director of Matchbox Pictures, adds: “’Stateless’ is a drama series that thrillingly taps into one of the biggest socio-political issues of our time and Netflix, with its unparalleled global reach, is the perfect platform to take this brilliant series to the world.”

The series, which is sold by NBCUniversal Global Distribution, is written by McCredie and Belinda Chayko. It is directed by Emma Freeman and Jocelyn Moorhouse. Producers include Sheila Jayadev and Paul Ranford for Matchbox Pictures, while executive producers are Blanchett, Upton and Ayres. McCredie and Liz Watts also serve as executive producers.

“Stateless” received production investment from Screen Australia and the ABC, and is financed with support from the South Australian Film Corporation.