UNDERBELLY COMMENCES PRODUCTION
Underbelly, the most anticipated drama series of recent times, commenced production in Melbourne today for the Nine Network.
The 13-part blockbuster, based on the book Leadbelly by John Silvester and Andrew Rule, is the compelling dramatisation of Melbourne’s infamous gangland killings that started in 1998 with the murder of Alphonse Gangitano. Underbelly will also follow the rise and fall ofnotorious career criminal Carl Williams, who sought to be king of Melbourne’s underworld and now languishes in prison.
Underbelly is the latest drama from production company Screentime whose recent slate includes The Society Murders and Mary Bryant. “This has to be one of the most exciting and challenging drama projects ever shot in this country,” Des Monaghan, executive producer for Screentime, said.
In keeping with the scope of this fascinating chapter of crime history, Underbelly boasts one of the most exciting ensemble casts ever assembled for Australian television. Rodger Corser (Last Man Standing) and Caroline Craig (Blue Heelers) star as Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Owen and Detective Constable Jacqui James, who embody the police officers who strove to stem the bloodshed of Melbourne’s internal crime wars.
Portraying real-life characters who have become part of Melbourne folklore are Vince Colosimo (Alphonse Gangitano), Gyton Grantley (Carl Williams), Kat Stewart (Roberta Williams), Simon Westaway (Mick Gatto), Martin Sacks (Mario Condello), Gerard Kennedy (Graham Kinninburgh), Kevin Harrington (Lewis Moran), Callan Mulvey (Mark Moran), Les Hill (Jason Moran), Robert Mammone (Tony Mokbel), George Kapiniaris(George Defteros) and Caroline Gillmer as matriarch Judy Moran.
“From the outset Nine has been 100 per cent committed to bringing Underbelly to the small screen,” said Nine Network Head of Drama, Jo Horsburgh. “And along with Sea Patrol and Canal Road, this landmark production represents the latest chapter in Nine’s proud tradition of creating world-class television.”
“The challenge for the writing team is to capture the essential truth of these extraordinary events in a compelling and coherent manner,” said Screentime’s Head of Drama, Greg Haddrick, who along with Peter Gawler and Felicity Packard will take writing credits.
Haddrick will also co-produce the series in conjunction with industry stalwart Brenda Pam, with Des Monaghan and Jo Horsburgh as executive producers. Underbelly will screen on the Nine Network in 2008.