Sundance Now picks up ‘Scrublands’ for the US and Canada

Greg McLean, Luke Arnold, Bella Heathcote, and Jay Ryan.

Stan/Nine co-commission Scrublands has been pre-sold to streamer Sundance Now for audiences in the US and English-speaking Canada.

Abacus Media Rights (AMR) negotiated the deal for the adaptation of Chris Hammer’s best-selling crime novel, which has now wrapped principal photography in Victoria.

Set in an isolated country town brought to its knees by endless drought, the story opens with a charismatic and dedicated young priest (Jay Ryan) calmly opening fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners.

One year later, investigative journalist Martin Scarsden (Luke Arnold) arrives in the town of Riversend to write what should be a simple feature story on the anniversary of the tragedy. But when his instincts kick in and he digs beneath the surface, the previously accepted narrative begins to fall apart and he finds himself in a life-and-death race to uncover the truth.

The cast also includes Bella Heathcote, Robert Taylor, Zane Ciarma, Adam Zwar, Victoria Thaine, Stacy Clausen, Genevieve Morris, and newcomer Ella Ferris.

An Easy Tiger production, the series is directed by Greg McLean from scripts written by Kelsey Munro, Jock Serong, and Felicity Packard, who also produces alongside David Redman and Easy Tiger’s Ian Collie and Rob Gibson.

Michael Healy and Andy Ryan are executive producing for 9Network with Cailah Scobie and Amanda Duthie for Stan. AMR is handling all international sales.

Production took place as Maldon in the Goldfields region, as well as Melbourne, with the support of VicScreen.

AMR managing director Jonathan Ford described Scrublands as a “roller coaster of a drama”.

“The look and feel of the series, set in the uncompromising landscape of Australia, makes for an intense and mesmerising thriller which we know will captivate viewers.”

Sundance Now vice president of programming Shannon Cooper said the streamer was excited to share the series with North American viewers.

Scrublands exudes the perfect collection of intrigue, mystery, and adventure, laced within a character-driven story, that Sundance Now’s astute audience appreciates and craves,” she said.