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No country for older women

Michael Burge: Author and Journalist

“The strategy behind the casting of younger women will take some explaining.”

IN February, Foxtel and Fremantle Media Australia announced the casting of an eagerly anticipated television adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Joan Lindsay’s 1967 Australian novel about a group of schoolgirls and their governess who go missing at a local rock formation on Valentine’s Day, 1900.

This fictional story was hauntingly filmed in 1975 by director Peter Weir, a production often credited with putting Australian movies back onto international screens after a decades-long hiatus.

CASTING COUP? Natalie Dormer, cast as Mrs Appleyard in the remake of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

I stumbled on the casting announcement late and immediately sought reactions in the media about one quirk in the production that is currently filming: there are no older actresses in the series.

But nobody seems to have commented that the producers are taking considerable licence with Joan Lindsay’s characters.

Cast as the widowed, expatriate English headmistress of the young ladies’…

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