Female-led caper mini-series “The Unusual Suspects” has begin filming in Sydney this week. The four-part series, which also highlights Australia’s ethnic diversity, is being produced for publicly-funded broadcaster SBS.
Set in the upmarket eastern suburbs of Sydney, the story features the theft of a multi-million-dollar necklace and the women from different walks of life who come together to ensure that justice is served.
The cast is headlined by Miranda Otto (“Lord of the Rings,” “The Thin Red Line”) as well as Filipina-American actress Aina Dumlao (“Ballers,” “MacGyver”), and Michelle Vergara Moore (“Condor,” “The Time of Our Lives”).
The series is written by Jessica Redenbach (Spirited, Rush), Roger Monk (Nowhere Boys, The Secret Life of Us) and Vonne Patiag, with Margarett Cortez as script consultant. It is directed by Emmy Award-winning Natalie Bailey (“Retrograde,” “Run,” “Avenue 5,” “The Thick of It”) and Melvin Montalban (“Rope Burn,” “Cupid”).
“Suspects” is produced by award-winning filmmaking duo Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford (“Lion,” “Berlin Syndrome,” “Dirt Music,”). Vonne Patiag (“Halal Gurls”) is associate producer, while executive production credit goes to SBS’s acting head of scripted, Amanda Duthie.
It has major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW and About Premium Content, which also handles international distribution. The series is also financed with support from Cutting Edge.
Production in much of Australia halted due to the coronavirus-related health measures and border controls. Many film and TV productions had initially found it difficult to restart due to the problem of getting insurance. In August, the federal government stepped in to provide a finance pool that alleviates the insurance risk.
“The fact that The Unusual Suspects is telling the story of my own family’s struggles, in addition to countless other overseas workers, just humbles me,” said Dumlao. “It’s refreshing to see so many well-drawn female roles with depth and complexity in the one production and we look forward to bringing these amazing women to life.”
Although Australia counts 290,000 inhabitants of Philippines origin, Moore said: “I never imagined that a series depicting such an important part of the Filipino-Australian immigrant experience would be portrayed.”
Other on-screen roles go to Otto and Moore’s real-life partners, Peter O’Brien (“Wentworth,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) and Toby Leonard Moore (“Billions,” “Mank”), Matt Day (“Rake,” “Wolf Creek”), Heather Mitchell (“A Place to Call Home,”), Renee Lim (“The Invisible Man,” “Secret City”), Susie Porter (“Hungry Ghosts,” “Wentworth”), Lena Cruz, Susana Downes, Ari Boyland, Heather Mitchell, James Lugton, Sandy Gore, Megan Smart and Andrea Demetriades.
Miguel Castro, Darcey O’Brien, Emma Cleland, Liam Cleland, Blake Santos, Avery Santos and Danielle David will also appear in their first major television roles.