Netflix begins production on epic outback drama Desert King (working title) in the NT and SA

desert king netflix

An explosive drama about power, family, land and legacy

Grab your cowboy hats because Netflix has today announced the beginning of production on a brand-new Australian outback drama, Desert King (working title). 

The six-part neo-western drama represents one of the largest local screen productions filmed in both the Northern Territory (on the traditional land of the Larrakia people in Darwin) and in Adelaide, South Australia, on the land of the Kaurna people.

An explosive drama about power, family, land and legacy, the thrilling story will follow the world’s largest cattle station which is left without a clear successor, where generational clashes threaten to tear the fictional Lawson family apart. Sensing this once great dynasty is in decline, the outback’s most powerful factions – rival cattle barons, desert gangsters, Indigenous elders and billionaire miners move in for the kill.

Desert King. Netflix/Tony Mott

Desert King (working title). Netflix/Tony Mott

“We have just started shooting on a cattle station in the Northern Territory. That’s where this epic story is set, and where we meet the Lawson family, as well as a group of Top-End characters that we know audiences will simply love,” Executive producer Ben Davies (Bondi Rescue, The First Inventors, Outback Ringer) said.

“The Top End cattle industry is a world rarely seen on our screens, and to authentically capture it we have embedded ourselves here in a most fantastic way. Of the 180 crew we have in the Territory, at least 140 are living on the station. It’s a monumental effort by production pulling this off in such a remote place.

“In terms of infrastructure and scale this cattle property is unmatched anywhere else in the world, so fortunately it can accommodate our large cast and crew. And with the team living here, we’re capturing remarkably authentic images that, when matched with powerful storytelling, encapsulate the world we’re looking to share, not just locally but globally as well.”

In a joint statement, Davies and co-executive producer, Rob Gibson also added: “We’re thrilled to have assembled an incredible creative team, on and off screen, to do justice to the rarely-seen world, characters and stories of the Top End—a place where timeless meets modern, and where landscape is life and livelihood, but also mortal danger. More soon!”

Desert King. Netflix/Tony Mott

Desert King. Netflix/Tony Mott

Backed by the NT Government’s Production Attraction Incentive Program (PAIP) and funded by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), through the SAFC Screen Production Fund, the PAIP has provided an opportunity to attract large-scale Australian and international footloose productions to the Territory to build the capacity of the local screen industry whilst contributing to the NT economy through employment and goods and services.

Post-production is also taking place in South Australia supported by the SAFC’s SA Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Rebate.

“Desert King is the ultimate tale of big land, big money and all the high-stakes drama that comes with it. We’re excited to be shooting our next premium Australian series to the Northern Territory for the first time, where this epic family drama is set, and at the world-class production facilities in South Australia. We’re working with some of Australia’s leading creators and crew to bring to life a version of this country we’re proud to show to our members both here at home and around the world,” Netflix Director of Content ANZ, Que Minh Luu said.

Desert King (working title). Netflix/Tony Mott

Prior to production, Netflix and Screen Territory partnered on the First Nations Production Ready Bootcamp to support 10 First Nations participants by providing a comprehensive overview of the ins and outs of screen production, while also preparing
them for trainee and attachment positions.

Desert King (working title) is produced by Paul Ranford (Stateless, True History of the Kelly Gang) and created by Tim Lee (Mystery Road, Bump) alongside Davies. It is directed by Greg McLean (La Brea, Wolf Creek) and is a joint production between Easy Tiger and Ronde.

The series will be released globally on Netflix and is part of Netflix’s growing local slate of Australian films, shows and documentaries including previously released Heartbreak High, Wellmania, True Spirit and Run Rabbit Run as well as
upcoming releases and newly announced projects such as Boy Swallows Universe, Surviving Summer Season 2, Love is in the Air, ONEFOUR: Against All Odds and more.

Desert King (working title) is currently in production and will be available to stream on Netflix soon.

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