Rebel Wilson. (Photo: Eva Rinaldi, via Flickr). 

The ABC has commissioned 10-part Roadshow Rough Diamond drama Les Norton, based on the best-selling novels by Robert G. Barrett.

Set in 1985, the series will follow the exploits of Les Norton, a country bloke from outback Queensland. On the run from a troubled past, he blows into Sydney where he lands a job as a bouncer at a notorious illegal casino in Kings Cross. A classic fish out of water who’s desperate to get home, he soon finds himself seduced by the city’s illicit charms and dragged into a web of underground criminality.

Rebel Wilson (Isn’t It RomanticPitch PerfectBridesmaids) and David Wenham (Romper StomperWake in FrightTop of the Lake) will headline the cast together with up-and-coming actor Alexander Bertrand (Australian GangsterHide & Seek), who will play Norton.

Daniel and John Edwards will produce the series created by by Morgan O’Neill, who will work alongside writers Christopher Lee (Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo), Samantha Winston (Wentworth), Shanti Gudgeon (Wolf Creek), Malcolm Knox (Romper Stomper), and Jessica Tuckwell.

Directors will include Jocelyn Moorhouse (The DressmakerProof), Fadia Abboud (Australian Gangster), David Caesar (Dead Lucky, Underbelly) and O’Neill (Drift, Solo).

ABC head of drama, comedy & Indigenous Sally Riley will EP with Andrew Gregory; Deeper Water Films’ John Schwarz and Michael Schwarz; and John Singleton and Jack Singleton. Major production investment has come from Screen Australia and the ABC, in association with Create NSW.

“Les and his reprobate mates are caught up in a Sydney that was at its most debauched in the ‘80s, and the show’s blackly hilarious as a consequence,” John Edwards said.

ABC’s Riley added: “We are over the moon that Les Norton has lured such a stellar cast and creative team to bring the novels to life. Les Norton is shaping up to be an enviable addition to the ABC’s 2019 drama slate”.

Sonar Entertainment will handle international distribution.

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  1. I’m so happy this is getting made. I started Bob Barretts career as a writer. He lived in a flat behind me at ‘Glamarama’ beach when I was shooting Summer City. He was a boner at the meat factory & later a bouncer at the Bondi Wife Swapper night club. He love movies & played a couple of small parts in my films. Bob had this yarn about Les Norton – I loved it, encouraged him to do a writing course. He later asked me to produce it, Singo (John Singleton) was to fund it. But Bob wanted a football player to play the lead, so I passed. I spoke to him the night he passed away, he sais. “Mate it’ll get made one day”. I agreed. Bob, you will be watching it over it from UP THERE . This is an AUSSIE CLASSIC….All the best to all involved.

    1. I hate to say this but that character is such an old fashioned misogonist. I’m not sure how this will play out.

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