Paramount+ will showcase an authentic take on the teen experience next year with coming-of-age drama More Than This.
Written and co-created by teen actor Olivia Deeble, the six-part series tells the oftentimes raw story of five 17-year-old students and their teacher whose diverse worlds collide when they are thrown together into a Year 12 English class.
Deeble stars alongside 18-year-old co-creator Luka Gracie and a young cast that includes Kamil Ellis, Ellmir Asipi, Josh Heuston, Oisin O’Leary, Celine Ajobong, Tharanya Tharan, and newcomer Selena Brincat, with Bert Labonte as the teacher.
Baby Banksia is producing the series with the assistance of Big Finish Creative, Shapeshifter Studios, and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF). Charmaine Gorman and Kate Gorman are producing, with the latter also directing with John Sheedy. Jason Haigh-Ellery, David Devjak, and Bernadette O’Mahony are executive producing with the Gorman siblings.
Deeble, who began working on the project while she was completing Year 12 during Melbourne’s lockdown, said the concept was borne out of a desire to see characters that were more closely aligned with her and her friends.
“I had auditioned for and watched hundreds of high school shows and they were all the same,” she said.
“None of them were telling anything near my truth or experience, so I wanted to make something authentic.
“I asked my friends what they would want to see on screen and the answer was ourselves: real teens and not shiny, airbrushed versions of teenagers played by 25-year-olds with adult bodies and adult confidence.”
O’Mahony described Deeble as “an exciting new creative force”.
“We loved her in Little Lunch at 12, and now at 18 to have written a drama series of this quality with such complexity, we knew we had to support it,” she said.
“The authentic voice of Olivia and Luka’s stories and their characters hook you in, along with the fabulous cast, who all had their own input and own experiences to bring to these roles.
“We know it’s a series that teens and young adults will relate to and are thrilled that Paramount+ love it as much as we do.”
Gorman said Paramount+ was the “perfect home” for More Than This.
“This show is breaking new ground, having been created by teens and telling stories from their point of view,” she said.
“It has been such a pleasure to work with the very talented cast and see their individuality, uniqueness and passions brought together in this amazing series.
“I can’t wait for the world to meet this young cast and fall in love with the diverse characters they have created.”
More Than This will premiere on Paramount+ in early 2022.