Aboriginal mythology and science fiction collide in high-stakes ‘near fi’ drama, Cleverman, a genre-bending new TV series produced by Goalpost Pictures Australia and Pukeko Pictures for Australia’s ABC TV in co-production with Sundance TV and Red Arrow International. Wellington’s Weta Workshop contributed creature design, specialty hair work and makeup effects and Park Road Post Production provided picture, sound and VFX post production services. It’s an Australasian co-production that’s been dubbed both “ambitious1” and “adventurous2”.Set in the near future, Cleverman tells the story of an ancient mythological species that must live among humans and battle for survival in a world that wants to silence, exploit and destroy them.
Giving physical form to 60,000 years’ worth of stories from the Aboriginal Dreamtime is no small task, but Weta Workshop’s crew of concept designers, who have lent their talents to the likes of District 9, Elysium and Avatar, relished the opportunity to explore a new world in a ‘near-fi’ future. Armed with knowledge and inspiration from director Wayne Blair, fellow designer Jacob Nash, and the team at Pukeko Pictures, more than 150 designs were created for the mysterious, not-quite-human family of ‘hairies’.
Meanwhile, Weta Workshop Senior Concept Designer Andrew Baker was tasked with dreaming up something decidedly not-human: the nightmarish monster that serves as the series’ primary antagonist.
Once the designs hit the Workshop floor, it was over to a specially-formed crew of technicians to craft the numerous bespoke hair pieces that were to decorate the bodies of the Hairypeople. Led by Hair Supervisor Fiona Sole and Hair and Makeup Designer Kath Brown, individual strands of hand-dyed hair were painstakingly knotted onto sheer lace bases, custom designed for each actor.
Cleverman may have Antipodean DNA but it’s already finding fans in both hemispheres. The first Australian TV show ever to be invited to screen at the Berlinale Special Series, its first two episodes premiered to “thunderous2” applause.
Starring an acclaimed ensemble cast featuring Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Frances O’Connor (The Missing), and newcomers Hunter Page-Lochard and Rob Collins in the two pivotal central roles, Cleverman makes its highly anticipated small-screen debut in mid-2016.
“Our top priority was to reflect the passion and integrity that the makers of Cleverman brought to the project, by creating stunning imagery that did justice to the overarching ideas of this incredible story.”
-Weta Workshop Senior Concept Designer, Leri Greer
“Aboriginal Dreamtime mythology: what a fantastic and original foundation for a sci-fi story! Weta Workshop was invited to dream up some culturally relevant characters for Cleverman, and our design and manufacturing teams took to the task with great enthusiasm. It is very pleasing to hear the series is getting rave reviews.”
-Weta Workshop CEO and Co-founder, Sir Richard Taylor
Cleverman is based on the original concept by Ryan Griffen, and produced by Goalpost Pictures and Pukeko Pictures for ABC TV with the assistance of Screen Australia, Screen NSW and the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.
About Goalpost Pictures
Goalpost Pictures are among Australia’s leading independent producers, partners are Rosemary Blight, Kylie du Fresne, Ben Grant and Cass O’Connor. Credits include The Sapphires, directed by Wayne Blair which was in official selection at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival; Clubland directed by Cherie Nowlan; Julien Temple’s Rose d’Or winner The Eternity Man; the BAFTA nominated series Lockie Leonard Series; the Emmy award winning Scorched and the telefeature The Accidental Soldier. In 2013 Goalpost Pictures produced the feature film Felony, with director Matthew Saville starring Joel Edgerton alongside Tom Wilkinson, Jai Courtney and Melissa George ain 2015 the feature film Holding The Man with director Neil Armfield, starring Ryan Corr with Guy Pearce, Kerry Fox & Anthony La Paglia.
About Pukeko Pictures
Pukeko Pictures is an independent entertainment production company focused on the development and production of excellent quality multi-platform entertainment for a global audience. Pukeko Pictures was formed in 2008 by Sir Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Martin Baynton, and is located in Wellington, New Zealand. With a connection to the world famous Weta Workshop (Avatar, King Kong, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), Pukeko Pictures is uniquely positioned in the creation of world-leading entertainment, harnessing the best in global talent and world-class production processes.
About Weta Workshop
Weta Workshop is a five-time Academy Award-winning concept design studio and physical effects manufacturing facility that services the world’s entertainment and creative industries. It’s also a premier New Zealand tourism destination, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the artistry and creativity behind 20 years of filmmaking in Wellington.
About Red Arrow International
Red Arrow International is distributing the drama worldwide, as a world-leading TV distributor of scripted, factual and formatted shows from Red Arrow’s global group of production companies, outstanding third-party producers and digital-content partners. Red Arrow International is a major co-producer of global entertainment, providing substantial production financing for scripted and non-scripted projects. Recent international highlights include: Bosch (Amazon); Lilyhammer (Netflix); Married at First Sight (FYI); and The Taste (ABC). With offices in Munich, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, Red Arrow International has a truly global reach and distributes acclaimed, quality content to over 200 territories worldwide. Led by Henrik Pabst, Red Arrow International is part of Red Arrow Entertainment Group, made up of 13 production companies across 7 countries; the Los Angeles based MCN, Collective Digital Studios; and creative partnerships and joint ventures with STV, Sync Media and United Artists Media Group (Mark Burnett / Hearst). Red Arrow Entertainment Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, one of Europe’s leading media group.
For more information regarding this release, please contact Erik Hay,
Senior Communications Manager, Weta Workshop. email@example.com