An adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning novel by Richard Flanaghan, the five-part series is love story set against the backdrop of World War II. Production is by Curio Pictures with Prime Video releasing the title in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In other territories, it distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
Flanaghan’s novel, published in 2013, chronicles a century dominated by war, with the forced labor on the Thai-Burma Railway as its dramatic heart. The story is told by an Australian doctor who was taken prisoner during World War II and became an unlikely and uncomfortable hero after the war’s end.
The series has been in development for several years and was previously announced on the slate of Fremantle. Principal production funding is provided by Screen Australia, with assistance from the New South Wales government through Screen NSW’s Made in NSW and PDV Funds.
The adaptation, which uses multiple time frames, boasts a powerful creative team in screenwriter Shaun Grant and director Justin Kurzel. The pair previously worked together on disturbing Cannes competition film “Nitram.” Grant and Kurzel both serve as executive producers, with Alexandra Taussig producing.
Kurzel also previously directed Cannes competition film “Macbeth” and “Assassin’s Creed” and parts of Apple TV+ series “Shantaram.” Grant has writing credits that include “Berlin Syndrome” and “Jasper Jones,” David Fincher’s acclaimed Netflix series “Mindhunter” and feature film “Penguin Bloom,” starring Naomi Watts.
The series’ other key cast include Olivia DeJonge (“Elvis”), Heather Mitchell (“Love Me,” “Upright”), Thomas Weatherall (“Heartbreak High”), Show Kasamatsu, and Simon Baker (“Limbo,” “Breath”).
“The power of the storytelling, which began with Richard Flanagan’s seminal novel; the brilliance of the creative team, led by Shaun Grant and Justin Kurzel; and our breathtakingly accomplished cast will make this a landmark production for Australian television and a sweeping story to be embraced by audiences around the world,” said Curio Pictures’ Jo Porter and Rachel Gardner.
“ ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ promises to be a cinematic, visceral, and undeniable contemporary love story, which explores the power of mateship and the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity,” said Sarah Christie, senior development executive at Amazon MGM Studios.
Screen Australia Head of Content Grainne Brunsdon, said: “Shaun Grant and Justin Kurzel have created an epic war drama from Richard Flanagan’s novel, steeped in love and transformational power. Full of grandeur and richness, this series brings to life the horror and realities of war and imprisonment.”