“Austral” is an expansive drama set in Antarctica during the year 2098, decades after the melting glaciers have given way to a new frontier of resource-rich land, and a generation of settlers from all around the dying world have converged there. But for Austral Ferrado, one of a number of “huskies,” or people who have been gene-edited to better withstand the still-unforgiving climate of the far south, this new Antarctica is no paradise. Trapped in a society that has imprisoned her and treated her kind more as animals than humans, Austral will stop at nothing to gain her freedom.
Elise McCredie — Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts screenplay award winner for Cate Blanchett-produced series “Stateless” — will adapt the novel, while Erik Skjoldbjaerg (“Occupied”) will direct. Both will also serve as executive producers, alongside Kenton Allen, Luke Alkin and Matthew Justice from Big Talk, and Lawrence Mattis and Russ Buchholz from Circle of Confusion TV Studios.
Circle of Confusion Television Studios is a joint venture between Circle of Confusion (“The Walking Dead”) and ITV Studios America.
Production will be based in Norway, with locations in the far north of the country providing the dramatic landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.
“‘Austral’ truly is a story for our times. It tackles climate change, prejudice and the abuse of power in a boldly compelling vision of the future. We’re incredibly excited to be working with two world-class talents, Elise McCredie and Erik Skjoldbjaerg, to bring Paul McAuley’s thrilling book to the screen,” said Luke Alkin, executive producer, Big Talk Productions.
“Under ITV Studios’ global umbrella, we’ve been able to assemble a truly international team of storytellers to bring Paul McAuley’s brilliant novel to television,” said Russ Buchholz, executive VP and head of creative affairs, Circle of Confusion Television Studios. “‘Austral’ will captivate audiences worldwide as we follow her adrenaline-fueled journey and uncover this powerful story of survival, family legacy and the cost of freedom.”
McAuley’s fiction has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell award, the Sidewise Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the British Fantasy Award for best short story.
McCredie’s credits also include “Sunshine” and “Jack Irish,” while Skjoldbjaerg burst on the scene with Cannes title “Insomnia,” followed by “Prozac Nation.” He is currently directing World War II drama film “Narvik.”
The deal was negotiated by James Grant, former head of business affairs at Big Talk Productions and Tom Lane, executive VP, business and legal affairs at ITV Studios America for Circle of Confusion Television Studios.