Aina Dumlao (Sanzaru, Ballers, MacGyver), AACTA award-winner Miranda Otto (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Homeland, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Michelle Vergara Moore (Condor, The Time of Our Lives) headline the outstanding cast of SBS’s new Australian drama comedy commission The Unusual Suspects, which commenced filming in Sydney this week.
Produced by Aquarius Films, the fun yet gripping four-part heist caper is a tale of female friendship and empowerment set in Sydney’s glamorous Eastern Suburbs. When a $10 million necklace is taken in an elaborate heist, women from vastly different walks of life come together to ensure justice is served.
Star Aina Dumlao said: “Having the opportunity to work with Filipinos both in front of and behind the camera – all while collaborating alongside a powerhouse cast and amazing filmmakers – is nothing short of pure joy for me. And the fact that The Unusual Suspects is also telling the story of my own family’s struggles, in addition to countless other overseas workers, just humbles me.
“It’s refreshing to see so many well-drawn female roles with depth and complexity in the one production and we look forward to bringing these amazing women to life.”
The Unusual Suspects marks the first major representation of Filipino-Australians on Australian TV.
“My inspirational parents, José and Rustica, immigrated from Pulilan, Philippines to Australia in 1975 with the dream of a wonderful new life for them and their 10 children," said Michelle Vergara Moore. "Today, over 290,000 Filipino-born people also call Australia home [according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics]. I hope I can do them, my parents and other Filipino immigrants proud with this empowering and captivating fire-cracker of a series.
“In my lifetime, I never imagined that a series depicting such an important part of the Filipino-Australian immigrant experience would be portrayed… and to be a part of it – I’m just chuffed! Kudos to the entire team for believing that this narrative needs to be shared, and I can’t wait for this highly entertaining story to resonate with audiences around the world.”
Miranda Otto has returned to Sydney to film the show, and said: “I’m excited to join Aina and Michelle in this outrageously funny series with fierce female friendships at its core. I’m honoured to be working with Aina, Michelle, Vonne Patiag, Melvin Montalban and the other Filipino creatives to tell a truly original and incredibly diverse narrative and look forward to collaborating with SBS, who do such amazing work telling Australian stories.”
Joining the impressive cast are Otto and Moore’s real-life partners, Peter O’Brien (Wentworth, Tidelands, The Killing Field) and Toby Leonard Moore (Billions, Mank, Daredevil, Condor), along with Matt Day (Rake, Wolf Creek, A Place to Call Home), Lena Cruz (Shortland Street), Susana Downes (Dead Lucky), Ari Boyland (Shortland Street, Power Rangers RPM), Heather Mitchell (A Place to Call Home, Janet King), James Lugton (Hacksaw Ridge), Renee Lim (The Invisible Man, Secret City), Susie Porter (Hungry Ghosts, Wentworth), Sandy Gore (Australia, Brides of Christ, Prisoner), Megan Smart (Between Two Worlds) and Andrea Demetriades (The Commons, Janet King).
Miguel Castro, Darcey O’Brien, Emma Cleland, Liam Cleland, Blake Santos, Avery Santos and Danielle David will also appear in their first major television roles.
The powerhouse creative team
The series is being 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. They are joined by Vonne Patiag (Halal Gurls) as Associate Producer.
The series was written by Jessica Redenbach (Spirited, Rush), Roger Monk (Nowhere Boys, The Secret Life of Us) and Vonne Patiag, with Margarett Cortez as Script Consultant. In the directors’ chairs are Emmy Award-winning Natalie Bailey (Retrograde, Run, Avenue 5, The Thick of It) and Melvin Montalban (Rope Burn, Cupid). Executive Producer is SBS’s Acting Head of Scripted, Amanda Duthie.