PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK: reinterpreting the iconic Australian story
Fifty years after publication, Picnic at Hanging Rock still intrigues with its gothic horror and repressed sexuality. Now, in a six-part miniseries, it’s had a 21st-century makeover. The Australian Women’s Weekly takes an exclusive peek behind the scenes.
Asoggy, 17-degree Melbourne day on the set of Picnic at Hanging Rock and the Italianate façade of the Werribee Mansion hotel is the stand-in for Appleyard College. English actress Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games) is the imperious Hester Appleyard, dressed head-to-toe in aubergine velvet. A smoke machine simulates early-morning mist while the headmistress is led across the lawn to a dead schoolgirl sprawled in a flower bed amidst the hydrangeas.
Cast and crew are imbedded in novelist Joan Lindsay’s iconic tale of a group of schoolgirls who inexplicably vanish on a Valentine’s Day picnic in 1900. However, this six-part series is no remake of Peter Weir’s 1975
The four schoolgirls, Marion, Miranda, Irma and Edith, from the new miniseries, and their original film counterparts (below).