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US adaptation of Animal Kingdom to TV will be a 'more nuanced portrayal'

Six years ago audiences met the Cody family in the 2010 Melbourne-based film Animal Kingdom.

Now a trailer for the US television remake has been released.

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Trailer: Animal Kingdom

US television adaption of acclaimed Australian film, Animal Kingdom follows a 17-year-old boy who moves in with his grandmother and uncles after his mother dies.

"There are any number of fantastic films which became very good television series because the initial material was rich," executive producer John Wells told reporters at a press event. 

Ellen Barkin takes on a challenging role of loving matriarch Smurf for which Australian Jackie Weaver was nominated for an Oscar. 

"She's a very different character but lives in that same space as a mother," Wells said.

Showrunner Jonathon Lisco elaborated: "We're going to make it a more nuanced portrayal of a mother who both loves her sons, but also vandalises them and has emotionally warped them while at the same time coddled them."


Set in the surf community of Oceanside, California - a world awayfrom 1985 Melbourne - Animal Kingdom is a family crime drama.

"The movie only scratched the surface on how far down we can drill down on these characters and Smurf is a great example," said Lisco.

"You learn that she's capable of great menace, some emotional cruelty but also capable of great love but it never really answers the question whether or not her capacity of cruelty or her capacity for love is the scarier component of her character and I know that's something we want to explore in the course of the series. I think that's a rather bottomless pit when you have an actress like Ellen Barkin."

Barkin herself expressed no issue taking over a role made famous by someone else, comparing the challenge to that of a play revival.

"I don't really think I'm stepping into anyone's shoes," she said.

"I don't think the movie was a beginning a middle or an end point for us. It was more like source material as much as a book I might read."

In preparation for her role, Barkin completed extensive research about Melbourne's Pettingill crime family who inspired the original film.  She even wanted to use a glass eye but was shut down by producers.

Animal Kingdom premieres later this year on TNT.

Watch the trailer below from the 3 minute mark: