Jacki Weaver returns to Oz TV in Matchbox political drama Secret City

Brian Karlovsky

26/04/2016

New Australian political drama Secret City – starring Jacki Weaver, Anna Torv and Dan Wyllie – is set to premiere on June 5.

Filmed in Parliament House and locations across Canberra and Sydney, Secret City is inspired by the best-selling novels The Marmalade Files and The Mandarin Code, written by Canberra political journalists Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis.

Amidst rising tension between China and America, Canberra press gallery journalist Harriet Dunkley (played by Anna Torv) forces her way closer to the truth, uncovering a secret city of interlocked conspiracies which will threaten her career, her life and endangers the freedom of every Australian.

Weaver makes her return to Australian television in the role of Labor powerbroker Senator Catriona Bailey, while Dan Wyllie plays Minister of Defence Mal Paxton.

Weaver said she loved the story and the character.

“It’s very authentic because the books were written by two insiders, Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis,” she said.

“Secret City tells behind-the-scenes of the machinations and the treachery and the interesting things that occur in politics.

“Catriona is a very powerful and ambitious woman. I’ve drawn inspiration, not from any one female politician in particular, but part of my character is based on an amalgam of female politicians I’ve seen, not just in Australia, but all over the world.

“I find politics fascinating, and I follow it closely, both in America where I now live most of the time, and here at home in Australia.”

The cast also includes Damon Herriman as ASD senior analyst, Kim Gordon, Alex Dimitriades as ASIO officer Charles Dancer and Alan Dale, as Australian Prime Minister Martin Toohey.

Miranda Tapsell takes on the role of Daily Nation Canberra journalist, Sasha Rose, while Mekhi Phifer is US Ambassador Moreton, Sacha Horler is the PM’s Chief of Staff, Ludie Sypek and Marcus Graham plays Daily Nation political correspondent Andrew “Griff” Griffiths.

Secret City is a Matchbox Pictures production for Foxtel, in association with Werner Film Productions, supported by Screen Australia, Screen ACT and Screen NSW, directed by Emma Freeman (Glitch, Tangle, Hawke, Puberty Blues) and produced by Joanna Werner (Dance Academy, Ready For This).

Executive Producers are Foxtel’s Head of Drama Penny Win, and Penny Chapman, from Matchbox Pictures.

Matchbox Pictures’ Penny Chapman said: “Chris and Steve brought Matchbox this idea when their first book was in manuscript stage.

“It has been a wild and wonderful ride and I am enormously proud of the creative team that brought it to the screen,” he said.

“It’s exciting to be partnering yet again on a drama production with Foxtel who are doing such great things for television fiction in Australia.”

Producer Joanna Werner said: “We have been extremely lucky to have such a talented cast and crew working on Secret City.

“Our director Emma Freeman has done a superb job in bringing this intense political thriller to life and our cast, led by Jacki, Anna and Dan, who are all incredibly impressive.”

Secret City has been written by Matt Cameron (Jack Irish, Old School), Belinda Chayko (The Gods of Wheat Street, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Old School) and Greg Waters (Janet King, Devil’s Dust), who is also Script Producer.

Secret City airs Sunday nights at 8.30pm from June 5 on Foxtel’s showcase channel.