Ensemble cast unveiled as production begins on ABC/Aquarius Films’ ‘Savage River’

'Savage River' director Jocelyn Moorhouse and stars Katherine Langford and James Mackay on set.

Katherine Langford will be joined by a strong ensemble cast in ABC crime drama Savage River, with production now underway in Victoria.

Starring in the Aquarius Films series are Jacqueline McKenzie, Cooper Van Grootel, Nadine Garner, James Mackay, Bernard Curry, Mark Coles Smith, Virginia Gay, Daniel Henshall, and Osamah Sami.

Additional cast include Robert Grubb, Leah Vandenberg, Amesh Edireweera, Richard Piper, as well as newcomers Miranda Anwar, Maia Abbas, Haya Abbas, Bill Zeng, Julian Weeks, Jack Kenny and Hattie Hook.

Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, who re-teams here with The Dressmaker cinematographer Don McAlpine, the six-parter follows Miki Anderson (Langford), who returns to her hometown in rural Victoria after eight years in prison, determined to finally move on with her life.

But the close-knit community of Savage River is not about to let her forget the past that easily. When a murder rocks the town, Miki immediately becomes the focus of everyone’s suspicion. With the police closing in, she sets out to prove her innocence, uncovering long-buried secrets that will cast doubt on everything she thought she knew. 

Talking to IF during pre-production last year, Moorhouse described the series, created by Belinda Bradley and Franz Docherty with lead writer Giula Sandler, as “dark, brooding and really well plotted.”

Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford produce and serve as co-writers, with the duo promising the series will “take viewers on an unsettling exploration of a small-town community that hides many secrets.”

Other HODs include production designer Jo Ford, costume designer Maria Pattison, hair and makeup designer John Logue, casting director Kirsty McGregor and editors James Manche and Anne Carter. Darlene Johnson, currently collaborating with Aquarius after being awarded the inaugural Sydney Film Festival/Deutsche Bank First Nations fellowship, is both a director’s and producer’s attachment.

Miranda Culley executive produces for Aquarius, with ABC EPs Rebecca Anderson and head of drama, entertainment and Indigenous Sally Riley.

Production will take place over nine weeks across Melbourne and regional Victoria, major production investment from Screen Australia through production investment and the Regional Location Assistance Fund (RLAF).

Riley says: “Aquarius Films have assembled an amazing cast led by the immensely talented Katherine Langford and Jacqueline McKenzie. This moody mystery set in stunning regional Victoria will keep you guessing till the end. We can’t wait to share this gripping series with audiences later this year.”

Savage River will air on ABC TV and ABC iview later this year. Dynamic Television is handling international sales.