ACT News

Stars come out for political thriller

Lucy Lawless of Xena: Warrior Princess fame, Dan Spielman from Offspring and Adam Garcia from Coyote Ugly are some of the big names starring in a political thriller to be filmed in Canberra.

David Wenham, who has starred as everyone from Faramir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy to Diver Dan in SeaChange, is also in the cast.

Chelsie Preston Crayford, who won the Logie last year for most outstanding new talent for Underbelly: Razor is also in the series.

CODE, a six-hour series for ABC TV, will start filming in Sydney on Monday. Scenes will also be shot in Broken Hill.

Filming in Canberra will start on September 2, with two weeks of the expected seven-week shoot to take place in the national capital.

Locations in Canberra include Parliament House, the Shine Dome, New Acton and Red Hill where a former embassy building will fill in as an actual embassy.

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CODE is being billed as a ''contemporary thriller stretching from the spectacular red desert of Australia's outback to the cool corridors of power''.

It's the story of two very different brothers who come across a new technology that people in the highest echelons of power will kill to keep secret.

Dan Wylie, much-loved for roles in series such as Puberty Blues and Love My Way is also confirmed for the cast, as are established Aussie actors Aden Young (I, Frankenstein, Rectify) and Aaron Pedersen (Jack Irish, City Homicide)

Auditions for extras and minor speaking roles for the series were held earlier this month in Canberra.

ScreenACT is assisting in the production and CODE is also the first drama series to secure investment from the ACT Screen Investment Fund.

ScreenACT director Monica Penders said the series was ''high-octane'' and, while still political, would show a different view of Canberra, not least because it was filming in some of the recently developed areas such as New Acton.

''It's huge. I think it's the biggest drama series the ABC has ever done,'' she said. ''A significant part of it will be shot here in Canberra. It's very exciting.''

The series was created by Shelley Birse and is being produced by Playmaker Media for ABC TV.

Playmaker Media's David Taylor and David Maher said in a statement: ''Shelley Birse has crafted a roller-coaster thriller with a very warm and original heart. Great writing has attracted a dream cast and crew and we're proud to be producing the series for ABC TV.''

ABC TV's head of fiction Carole Sklan said: ''The extraordinary sibling relationship at the heart of CODE brings great warmth and humour to this bold and original work, which examines the power of an independent voice in a world of duplicity and danger. Having such a wonderful cast speaks volumes for the strength and complexity of the storytelling.''

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