‘Picnic At Hanging Rock’ Stars Natalie Dormer As It Re-Imagines An Eerie Australian Classic

Foxtel

Game of Thrones fans who are missing out on their Natalie Dormer fix thanks to her character, Margaery, exiting the series in the last season, Picnic at Hanging Rock might help you fill the void.

Based on the classic Australian novel by Joan Lindsay, Picnic at Hanging Rock tells the story of a school picnic to Hanging Rock in Victoria, Australia, that goes horribly wrong. Set in 1900, it tells the story of a group of girls from a boarding school that goes missing during this excursion.

While the novel is considered fiction, the following inclusion by the author as a foreword had readers questioning if the book was based on a true story.

“Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction, my readers must decide for themselves. As the fateful picnic took place in the year nineteen hundred, and all the characters who appear in this book are long since dead, it hardly seems important.”

Initially, the author had decided to explain the girl’s disappearance in the final chapter of the book but was advised to omit it by her publisher. As a result, readers have speculated over the years about what happened to the girls. It wasn’t until the final chapter was published in 1987 that the secret was revealed.

Picnic at Hanging Rock has already gotten the movie treatment in 1975 at the hands of Peter Weir. However, now it will get a new adaptation when it comes to Foxtel in Australia this month and globally later in the year.

Foxtel's 'Picnic at Hanging Rock,' cast image
Featured image credit: Foxtel

According to News.com.au, Natalie Dormer will star as “Hester Appleyard, an English headmistress of the girls’ boarding college in the Australian bush.”

While Natalie Dormer had thought her days of donning corsets were over after Game of Thrones, once Larysa Kondracki approached her, the actress decided it was a role she couldn’t turn down.

“Then I found myself spending an hour and a half getting into corsets again,” she revealed to News.com.au.

This new adaptation of the eerie story will draw heavily on both the original novel and the 1975 movie of the same name. However, it will also add its own twist. Foxtel recently revealed that not only is everyone a suspect in the girls’ disappearance, but time is also not what it seems at Hanging Rock.

“This was supposed to be a quick trip to the country, but midway through the picnic, clocks and watches stop. With the second hands stuck on noon, some girls fall asleep as if it’s the middle of the night, others are as fresh as the morning. Things that have happened appear to happen again, while others don’t happen at all. It’s as if the time is right for something to happen. It certainly is, we soon learn, but perhaps not quite what [the girls] hoped.”

Picnic at Hanging Rock also stars Yael Stone, Sybilla Budd, and Samara Weaving. It is directed by Larysa Kondracki, Michael Rymer, and Amanda Brotchie from a screenplay written by Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison. The six-part series is a FremantleMedia Australia production made with key production investment from Screen Australia.

Picnic at Hanging Rock premieres on Foxtel in Australia on May 6. Internationally, it will air on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S., BBC for the UK, Canal+ in France, and SKY New Zealand’s premium entertainment channel, SoHo, later this year.