Mediaweek Podcast: Making of the new Jay Swan ABC crime thriller Mystery Road Origin

Mystery Road

Exec producers Greer Simpkin and David Jowsey on those great locations and the wonderful cast

An episode of the Mediaweek Podcast this week features two of the executive producers of the new ABC drama series Mystery Road: OriginGreer Simpkin and David Jowsey. They are also both co-managing directors of the company Bunya Productions.

The output has been extraordinary from Bunya Productions over the years. Its movies have included two Jay Swans crime thrillers (Mystery Road and Goldstone) through to the recent global success enjoyed by The Drover’s Wife.

In the Mediaweek Podcast, David Jowsey tells us about how the arrival of Greer Simpkin helped reshape the moviemaker to also be a significant producer of TV drama.

Mystery Road

Mystery Road: What you need to know

Both previous series of Mystery Road are still available on iview. You don’t need to have watched them though to enjoy the standalone storyline in Mystery Road Origin. In fact if you are new to the Jay Swan character, Origin is not a bad place to start before enjoying series one and two.

Mystery Road: Beginnings

DJ: Ivan Sen, one of the partners in Bunya Productions, is the author of the Mystery Road story and the Jay Swan character originally played by Aaron Pedersen. That original Mystery Road movie was released in 2013. The second movie was called Goldstone.

Mystery Road

Tuuli Narkle as Mary with Lisa Flanagan as Catherine, Mystery Road Origin – Photograph by David Dare Parker

GS: For audiences that have watched the previous series and the films it is really nice to see the young Jay Swan who arrives in the series as a constable and then becomes a detective. You can see him starting to develop into the character of the older Jay Swan.

It really is the origin story of not only Jay but also his gun, the Winchester that he always pulls out when he means business.

He is returning to the town where he grew up after a few years and it is also the town where he meets the young Mary. Her character featured in one of the films and the previous TV series.

Mark Coles Smith as Jay Swan; Hayley McElhinney as Max, Mystery Road Origin – Photograph by David Dare Parker

You will enjoy the opening scene

GS: It was filmed on a salt lake called Lake Lefroy in Western Australia which is about an hour out of Kalgoorlie. It is very hot out there but absolutely stunning. Credit goes to our wonderful director Dylan River and director of photography Tyson Perkins. They have done such a stunning job and the landscape is such a feature.

DJ: Bunja Productions had always been a company that made only movies. When Greer joined she turned us into a television company. Because we only knew how to make movies we decided to start making television like we make movies. Our approach has always been a very cinematic approach and that is an underpinning element of the series. They do look really good and they do show the outback to its best.

Hayley McElhinney as Max, Steve Bisley as Peter Lovric; Mark Coles Smith as Jay Swan, Mystery Road Origin – Photograph by David Dare Parker

GS: The three series were all sot in Western Australia and the two feature films were shot in Queensland. The beauty of the Jay Swan character is that he moves in each series. The first TV series was shot in Kununurra and Wyndham with majestic mountains behind us. The second series was shot in Broome where the mangroves and the red desert meet the sea.

To hear the complete Mystery Road podcast listen here online.

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