Phil Lloyd and Krew Boylan in ‘Sando’ (Photo credit: Tony Mott).

The producers of Jungle Entertainment’s ABC comedy Sando were hastily forced to recast the lead role after Genevieve Morris withdrew for health reasons after the first week of shooting.

Sacha Horler did a killer audition to secure the role of Victoria ‘Sando’ Sandringham as filming continued in the second week, rescheduled to focus on the scenes in which her character does not appear.

Horler, whose credits include The Letdown, Offspring and Jungle’s The Moodys and No Activity, joined the production in week three and has mightily impressed the producers and fellow cast members.

“She is showing incredible muscle as an actress and bringing her own perspective to the role,” producer Chloe Rickard tells IF on the set, a pub at the Entertainment Quarter. “It’s been a humongous effort from the cast and crew.”

Phil Lloyd, who created and co-wrote the show, says: “Sacha jumped in and made the character her own.”

The plot revolves around Sando, a down-to-earth larrikin who has built a successful discount furniture empire although her personal life is a mess.

Ten years earlier she was banished by her family after her one-night stand (and resulting pregnancy) with the fiancé (Firass Dirani) of her daughter Susie (Krew Boylan) was revealed just before they were due to marry.

After a health scare and with her business rival (Rob Carlton) threatening to usurp her, Sando is determined to rebuild the family relationships.

Lloyd plays Don, a jingles writer who fancies himself as a serious musician, is the lover of Nicky (Adele Vuko), Susie’s best friend and live-in therapist but secretly fancies Sando.

Uli Latukefu (Harrow, Doctor Doctor) is Susie’s husband Gary and in his TV series debut stand-up comedian Dylan Hesp is Eric, Sando’s son.

Lloyd tells IF he got the idea of a comedy centred on a lovable, rich larrikin in the vein of a John Singleton and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest with the twist that she is female and trapped in a 1980s time warp.

“I don’t think we have seen a comedy like that in Australia,” he says. “The show is grounded in a certain reality but it goes to crazy places.”

Rickard likens the tone of the six-part series funded by the ABC, Screen Australia and Create NSW to Arrested Development.

The directors are Erin White (It’s a Date, Little Lunch) and the Van Vuuren Bros. (Bondi Hipsters, Soul Mates) and the scripts were written by Lloyd, his co-creator Charlie Garber, Gary Eck, Helen Dallimore and Tiffany Zehnal.

The DOP is Damian Wyvill, who shot Goddess and did the A camera work on Oddball, and the production designer is Virginia Mesiti, whose credits include Jungle’s Here Come the Habibs! and A Moody Christmas.

Some 80 per cent of the show is set in Sando’s house in St Ives, garishly decorated with apricot and violet as the dominant colours.

The producers are hopeful the show will be renewed and Lloyd says: “We have a lot of ideas for season two.”

Early next year Vuko will write and direct The Hitchhiker, a short film funded by Screen Australia’s Hot Shots program as the precursor to a comedy/horror road movie. Produced by Rickard and Johanna Somerville, the plot will follow three girls who pick up a hitchhiker on their way to a music festival, not realising she is a vampire.

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