Pre-production commenced in Sydney today on the new SBS original commission The Unusual Suspects. Produced by Aquarius Films for SBS and About Premium Content, with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW, the four-part heist caper is a fun, yet gripping story about female friendship and a celebration of Filipino culture and community.
Set in Sydney’s glamorous Eastern suburbs, this tale of empowerment will be led by a female cast – to be announced in coming weeks – and produced by award-winning filmmaking duo Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford (whose recent credits include Lion, nominated for six Academy Awards® and four Golden Globe Awards as well as Berlin Syndrome, Dirt Music, The Other Guy and The Unlisted).
“The Unusual Suspects is a female friendship story about a group of women from different walks of life wrapped up in a wildly entertaining heist caper with an important message at its heart. This is Aquarius’ first collaboration with SBS and we are extremely excited to be moving into the production phase with such a strong creative team.” – Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford
The drama kicks off when a $10 million necklace is stolen from self-made Filipina businesswoman Roxanne Waters’ home during her twins’ extravagant birthday party. The ensuing police investigation threatens to expose cracks in Vaucluse’s sparkling façade, shedding a light on hidden rivalries, shady business deals and forbidden affairs.
No one is safe from suspicion, from social darling Sara Beasley, whose ‘perfect’ life is crumbling fast, to her long-suffering nanny, Evie De La Rosa, a godmother of sorts for other Filipino domestic workers. With the stakes higher than ever, can they stop themselves from turning on each other, or will they discover a friendship worth more than diamonds?
The team bringing this wildly entertaining romp to life include Emmy Award-winning Natalie Bailey (Retrograde, Run, Avenue 5, The Thick of It) and Melvin Montalban (Rope Burn, Cupid), as directors, associate producer and co-writer Vonne Patiag (Halal Gurls) and writers Jessica Redenbach (Spirited, Rush) and Roger Monk (Nowhere Boys, The Secret Life of Us).
“I’m thrilled to be working back in Australia with Aquarius and SBS, the most forward-thinking channel in Australia. It is a rare opportunity to direct a female-centred series, let alone one with such a dynamic heist at its core. The Unusual Suspects explores the bonds of female friendship and experience while cutting to the heart of some of Australia’s ethical blind spots – wealth disparity and the exploitation of immigrant workers.” – Natalie Bailey
Best known for his short films, music videos and commercials, The Unusual Suspects marks Montalban’s television directorial debut alongside Bailey, whose career spans 25 years both as a performer and behind the lens.
“To be working and learning under experienced helmer Natalie Bailey is a wonderful opportunity. And, as a Filipino-Australian, to direct a largely Filipino cast is an equally exciting prospect. I can’t wait for the opportunity to share the experience of Filipino domestic workers in a heartfelt and genre-bending way.” – Melvin Montalban