After appearing in all six seasons of US musical drama Nashville, Clare Bowen has returned to Australia to star alongside Bryan Brown in SBS’s Hungry Ghosts.
Matchbox Pictures’ four-part character-driven ghost story based on an original idea by Timothy Hobart explores three generations of Vietnamese Australian families, all haunted by the traumatic events of war.
Four weeks into a seven week shoot, the Shawn Seet-directed series opens on the eve of the Hungry Ghost Festival in Melbourne when a vengeful spirit is unleashed, wreaking havoc across the Vietnamese Australian community.
The large ensemble cast also features Catherine Davies, Justine Clarke, Ryan Corr, Ferdinand Hoang, Gareth Yuen, Jillian Nguyen, Hoa Xuande, Suzy Wrong, Gary Sweet and Susie Porter.
Brown plays Neil Stockton, a photographer famous for his collection of Vietnam War photographs which are featured in an exhibition that has ripple effects.
Bowen, who played budding songwriter Scarlett O’Connor in Nashville, which aired here on Stan, plays his daughter Liz.
In her first major TV role, experienced stage actress Catherine Davies is May Li, a former chef who begins to understand that she alone has the power to control the evil spirits.
Ryan Corr is a first-year doctor who encounters May Li, Sweet is a shape-shifter and Porter is a UN worker who is infected by ghosts.
Stephen Corvini and Hobart are producing the series with funding from Screen Australia, SBS, Film Victoria and NBCUniversal International Distribution.
Hobart conceived the idea of a series involving the transfer of trauma from one generation of trauma survivors to subsequent generations about a year ago and developed the concept with John Ridley. Given the subject, they enlisted the help of playwright Michelle Lee and brothers Alan and Jeremy Nguyen.
Screen Australia’s Head of Content, Sally Caplan said: “Screen Australia is committed to supporting diverse and distinctive Australian stories. What excites us about Hungry Ghosts is that it will take viewers into the rich world of Vietnamese culture, and tell a story that hasn’t been seen before on our screens. Director Shawn Seet and producer Stephen Corvini have a proven track record in delivering thought-provoking dramas and with strong scripts from a mix of Vietnamese-Australian writers including Jeremy and Alan Nguyen, plus an outstanding cast, I look forward to seeing this series premiere on SBS later this year.”
Film Victoria CEO, Caroline Pitcher, said: “We’re thrilled to support Hungry Ghosts, the latest Victorian high-quality television drama. Set firmly within Melbourne’s Vietnamese community and with a strong and diverse creative team behind it, this new series from Matchbox Pictures is a prime example of the unique stories and perspectives we want to see on screens.”
Hungry Ghosts is directed by Shawn Seet (Deep Water) and produced by Stephen Corvini (Safe Harbour), Timothy Hobart (Wanted) and executive producers Sue Masters (The Hunting, The Family Law)and Debbie Lee (The Family Law, Barracuda). The series is written by Timothy Hobart, Michelle Lee, Alan Nguyen, Jeremy Nguyen and John Ridley.
The four-part series is a Matchbox Pictures production for SBS, with principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with SBS and Film Victoria. NBCUniversal International Distribution will distribute the series internationally.