Aaron Pedersen and Judy Davis to set off on ‘Mystery Road’ for the ABC

Aaron Pedersen as Jay Swan in ‘Goldstone’. 

Detective Jay Swan, the protagonist in Ivan Sen’s films Mystery Road and Goldstone, is headed to the small screen.

Aaron Pedersen will reprise the role in Mystery Road – The Series, alongside Judy Davis as a small town cop, for the ABC and international distributor All3Media International.

Directed by Rachel Perkins and produced by Bunya Productions’ David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin, the 6-part mystery/drama starts shooting in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia in late August.

The plot follows Swan as he investigates the disappearance of two young farm hands on an outback cattle station. One is a local Indigenous footy hero, the other a backpacker. Working with local cop Emma James (Davis), his investigation uncovers a past injustice that threatens the whole community

It is a rare Australian screen role for Davis, who was last seen as Hedda Hopper in the FX series Feud which screened on Foxtel, and starred in The Dressmaker.

“We never thought we could get Judy but we pitched her and she accepted, “ Jowsey told IF.

“Judy and Rachel have a high regard for each other. It is a huge honour and it gives the series an international cache. She plays a strong sharp- shooter, a powerful figure in the series.”

Pedersen was keen to continue portraying his character as an Indigenous man caught between the worlds of the largely white police establishment and the local community who are wary of cops.

The ABC pre-bought the Mystery Road movie, which garnered more than 1 million viewers, one of the broadcaster’s highest-rated dramas that year, and it also acquired Goldstone. 

The series is script produced by Michaeley O’Brien, who writes with Steven McGregor, Kodie Bedford, Jon Bell and Tim Lee. Sen and the ABC’s Sally Riley and Kym Goldsworthy are the executive producers.

Funding support comes from ScreenWest, Screen Australia, the Western Australian Regional Film Fund supported by Royalties for Regions, and Create NSW.

Perkins directed Jasper Jones for Bunyip Productions. As the former deputy head of drama at the ABC Simpkin had a relationship with All3Media International.

Simpkin said: “Our hope is that the series will not only be an entertaining and compelling mystery, but will also say something about the Australian identity.”

Penny Smallacombe, head of Screen Australia’s Indigenous department, said: “We’re extremely proud to have supported Mystery Road from its early beginnings as a feature film, through to Goldstone and now as a rich, captivating drama series from the experienced team at Bunya Productions.

“Television audiences around the world are embracing Indigenous stories and with Rachel Perkins at the helm, a stellar cast on board and stunning locations, the series is set to be a success both in Australia and internationally.”