Matt Richards shadows Ben Young on Netflix’s ‘Clickbait’

Matt Richards.

When Netflix announced it had commissioned Clickbait last year, director Matt Richards began lobbying co-creator Tony Ayres, Matchbox Pictures and Film Victoria to seek a director’s attachment.

That persistence paid off and the filmmaker started work on the Melbourne-based production two weeks ago, shadowing Ben Young (Extinction, Hounds of Love), who is directing two episodes of the eight-part, US-set thriller.

Richards will work on the show on-and-off until early April, fitting around his day job as a moving image designer at the National Gallery of Victoria.

“I really wanted the opportunity to work on a high stakes adult drama and pushed hard to get the attachment,” says Richards, who had an attachment on the ABC’s children’s series Tomorrow, When the War Began and has directed the short dramas First Contact, Rabbit and the Screen Australia Hot Shots-funded The Disappearance of Willie Bingham.

“Ben and the Clickbait team have been incredibly open and welcoming. I am sitting in on casting sessions, working through logistics and really enjoying watching how the scripts are evolving with Ben’s feedback and Tony’s showrunner polish on the final drafts.”

Richards knew Young from his time in Perth where they met on the set of a short film while he did an Advanced Diploma in Film and Television at the Western Australian School of Art and Design.

Co-created by Ayres and Christian White, the series stars Zoe Kazan as Pia Brewer, a young woman who is desperate for answers in the search for her missing brother in a case that has become a media sensation.

Betty Gabriel and Adrian Grenier play Sophie and Nick Brewer, a couple in Oakland who get caught up in a bizarre crime, with Phoenix Raie as Roshan Amir, an Oakland detective who investigates the case.

American Brad Anderson was the lead director and Emma Freeman directed two episodes. Tom Hoffie and Joanna Werner are producing for NBCUniversal International Studios, Tony Ayres Productions, Matchbox Pictures and Heyday Television.

The first Netflix original series to be produced in Victoria, it’s co-funded by the Federal Government’s Location Incentive program and Film Victoria’s Production Incentive Attraction Fund.

Meanwhile Richards is raising the finance for his next short Lone Pine, based on a David Malouf novel about a husband and wife who experience an act of random violence in the desert. He is co-writing with American Michael L. Fawcett, whom he met via a US-based script depository.

Richards hopes to pursue a directing career in adult drama and make his feature directing debut on a medical conspiracy thriller he is also developing with Fawcett.