Claire van der Boom to lead Paramount+’s ‘The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race’

Claire Van Der Boom as Penny in the 'The Appleton Ladies' Potato Race'.

The cast has been set for Paramount+ feature film The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race, with Claire van der Boom in the lead role.

Directed by Lynn Hegarty, the film is an adaptation of Melanie Tait’s play, originally developed and performed with Ensemble Theatre in Sydney. 

Van der Boom plays Penny Anderson, who returns to her childhood home just in time for the Appleton Show and its ‘world famous’ potato race. However, she is is outraged that the men’s first prize pays out $2,000 and the winning woman’s prize is only $200. Determined to right this wrong, she unleashes a cultural war the likes never seen in sleepy Appleton – pitting family against family, sister against sister and potato racer against potato racer.

Production is currently underway across Sydney and the Southern Highlands. The ensemble cast also includes Katie WallGenevieve Lemon, Tiriel Mora, Robyn Nevin, Andy Ryan, Rohan Nichol, Cecelia Peters, Darren Gilshenan, John Batchelor and John Gaden.

The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race is produced by Congaline Productions and EQ Media, with Tait having adapted her play for screen. Andrea Keir and Lisa Duff are producers and executive producers, joined by other EPs in EQ Media’s Greg Quail, Paramount+ Australia’s Sophia Mogford, and Cecilia Ritchie.

“Melanie has written a joyful and charming script set in a luscious country village nestled in rolling green hills. It will be impossible for viewers to resist when it lands on Paramount+,” said Keir.

In a joint statement, Duff and Greg Quail added: “We have assembled an incredible cast and crew and look forward to bringing the story of Appleton and its famous potato race to audiences both locally and internationally. With contemporary themes of home, family and the gender pay gap, this heartfelt drama is bound to become an Australian classic.”

Paramount ANZ network executive of drama and comedy Mogford said the streamer was sure the project would have global appeal.

“It is such a charming, engaging story full of Aussie quirks, humour and characters and the cast draws on some wonderfully familiar faces, as well as contemporary stars, with a story theme that will resonate with audiences everywhere. This production is certainly in safe hands with the talented, world-class cast and crew creating this very special film.”

The DOP is Henry Pierce, production designer Claire Granville, costume designer Wendy Cork and editor Katie Flaxman.

Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW and the NSW Regional Film Fund.