Richard Keddie will produce a feature-length drama for WTFN, which has acquired the film and television rights to “The Stalking of Julia Gillard” by Kerry-Anne Walsh.
The book tells the story of the media’s obsession with the fall and resurrection of Kevin Rudd at Julia Gillard’s expense.
The project represents WTFN’s first major foray into drama after acquiring Keddie’s production company earlier this year. As yet there is no broadcaster on board, but Rachel Griffiths is attached to play Julia Gillard.
“I am thrilled to portray Australia’s first female prime minister and explore the private aspects of her remarkable term,” Griffiths said. “I believe that the creative and intellectual capacity of the team involved will produce a stunning drama that will reframe this historic period in our cultural and political life.”
Keddie’s productions of Hawke for TEN in 2010, and the Logie-winning Curtin for the ABC were both critical and popular hits. He has also directed both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd in political advertisements.
“This is an incredible contemporary Australian story,” said Keddie, “and when the truth is revealed I think Australians will be astounded.”
“We’re the right people to make this because we know the political scene really well. We know how to make these kind of stories.
“I’ve taken Rachel in to meet with some pretty interesting people already.’
“We’re getting really good access to a lot of people.”
The story will also take aim at the role of the media in the political landscape.
“It’s a fascinating study of the 24/7 news cycle and what you will find is Kevin Rudd was a genius of the 24/7 news cycle. He kept the media fed and kept the media running and spinning for years. The media fed off that and they fed off the conflict. There are parallels with the Hawke / Keating conflict but that wasn’t front page news every day,” Keddie told TV Tonight.
“You have two incredible personalities in Rudd and Gillard.
“She was extraordinarily successful in her performance as a Prime Minister but not in the media. The media didn’t like her. They went after her and killed her.
“One of the reasons I want to make the story is because I believe the media are writing the rules of our democracy and frightening away character and personality. What we are getting is two-dimensional cutout characters who are nothing like the true people.
“That’s why I have been interested in making political drama because they are fascinating people.”
Keddie maintains the media has now become ‘kingmaker’ in Australian politics.
“Rather than report news they want drama. There’s no news in the National Insurance Disability Scheme, no news in the most radical reform since Medicare, but there’s tons of news in ‘Kevin Rudd has 44 votes now!’” he said.
The project is unlikely to be seen until 2015 with Keddie due to shoot the feature film Oddball in early 2014.
“I know a lot about the true story of Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. For me it makes Hawke look like a ‘normal story.’ It’s absolutely amazing.”