Joanne Froggatt, Damon Herriman.

Joanne Froggatt (Liar, Downton Abbey, A Crooked Somebody) and Damon Herriman (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Judy & Punch, Perpetual Grace, LTD) head the cast of The Commons, an eight-hour drama commissioned by Stan.

Created by showrunner Shelley Birse (The Code) and produced by Diane Haddon (Reckoning, The Code, Friday On My Mind) for Playmaker Media, the character-driven thriller set in the near future starts shooting in Sydney next week.

Jeffrey Walker (Lambs of God, Riot) is the set-up director, working with Rowan Woods and Jen Leacey.

Scripted by Birse, Matt Ford (House Husbands, Hiding), Michael Miller (Pulse, Cleverman) and Matt Cameron (Secret City, Bloom), the plot is said to play out at the intersection of climate change and the cutting edge of biotechnology, dealing with the “heroism inside us all when our backs are against the wall.”

Graham Yost (The Americans, Sneaky Pete, Justified) is among the executive producers together with Playmaker’s David Taylor and David Maher, Stan’s chief content officer Nick Forward, Fred Golan (Sneaky Pete, Justified, Roswell) and Birse.

Forward tells IF: “It’s a hugely ambitious project that deals with some big themes. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen in Australia.

“The pairing of Shelley Birse and Graham Yost is such an exciting prospect. With actors of the calibre of Joanne Froggatt and Damon Herriman joining the cast, alongside a stellar creative team, The Commons continues to demonstrate our ambition as the home of original Australian productions.”

There will be more cast announcements in the next week or so. The DOP is Earle Dresner (Glitch, Sisters) and Leigh Pickford is the casting director.

Screen Australia’s head of content Sally Caplan said: “Putting a spotlight on the challenges of climate change, ethical boundaries and the place of motherhood in saving the planet, The Commons is set to be a compelling and original series.”

Elizabeth W. Scott, Create NSW’s executive director, investment and engagement, said the production will provide more than 290 jobs across cast, crew and post-production.

Sony Pictures Television will handle worldwide sales of the series, which is set to premiere in 2020.

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