Kate Woods.

Director Kate Woods is looking forward to coming back to Sydney to shoot Seriously Red, her first Australian feature since Looking for Alibrandi in 2000.

Krew Boylan has written and will star in the comedy/drama/musical as a woman who thinks impersonating Dolly Parton will be the key to happiness but finds the answer lies within.

It will be produced by Robyn Kershaw and Dollhouse Pictures’ Jessica Carrera. Boylan and Carrera co-founded the creative collective with Rose Byrne, Shannon Murphy and Gracie Otto.

“It’s a really great group of people,” Woods tells IF via Skype from her home in Los Angeles. “We’re excited about the way it’s headed and we hope to get into production within the year.

“I am looking forward to coming back to do a film in Australia. The world of serious impersonators, people who want to make a living out of it, opens up some great emotional and comic and character opportunities.”

The title refers to the fact the protagonist has red hair and is an outsider who desperately wants to be taken seriously. The film will have a number of juicy roles for which Woods will be looking to cast Australian and internationally-known names.

The director first worked in the US in 2005 when she met up with Anthony LaPaglia (who starred in Looking for Alibrandi) in LA when he was starring in Without a Trace. LaPaglia picked up the phone and demanded the show’s producer hire her, sight unseen, to direct an episode.

She moved to LA in 2010 and has amassed an impressive list of credits including Nashville, Revenge, NCIS Los Angeles, Blind Spot, Castle, Once Upon a Time, Bones, The Magicians and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Her latest work, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., premiered in the US on the USA Network on Tuesday. She directed two episodes of the 10-part drama which chronicles the LAPD investigations over decades into the deaths of the legendary rappers played by Marcc Rose and Wavvy Jonez.

The series suggests the murders resulted from East Coast-West Coast rivalry between hip hop record companies and feuding between the Cripps and the Bloods.

She first collaborated with Anthony Hemingway, the executive producer who directed eight episodes, on Underground, the saga of slaves who were forced to work on the Underground Railroad in Georgia before the Civil War, which aired on WGN America.

Last year she came back to Oz to direct Fighting Season for Goalpost Pictures and Foxtel. Scripted by Blake Ayshford, the 6-part drama centers on the challenges facing Australian male and female soldiers when they returned from Afghanistan and stars Jay Ryan, Ewen Leslie, Kate Mulvany, George Pullar, Marco Alosio, Julian Maroun and Paul De Gelder.

“Blake did a beautiful job on the scripts so it was a no-brainer,” she says. Production designer Paddy Reardon oversaw the construction of an Afghan village and the Army barracks in a disused quarry near Sydney and the wide-angle battle scenes were shot in Broken Hill.

On the differences between shooting in the US and in Oz, she says, “There is more pressure in Australia because you simply don’t have those kinds of budgets. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. In the US an abundance of money doesn’t necessarily make it better and there is not the discipline to say, ‘I really have to think about how I can keep this together.’”

With producer Joanna Werner she is developing On the Jellicoe Road, scripted by Melina Marchetta, who wrote the novel Looking for Alibrandi. Based on another Marchetta novel, the mystery romance follows a teenager who is abandoned by her mother and meets a mysterious hermit who provides a clue to her identity.


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