By Simon Dang | The Playlist March 28, 2012 at 11:16AM
In case the abundance of television news lately wasn't enough of a hint, it's pilot season which can see some interesting projects attempt to break onto the scene. One television project already fronting cameras that we're highly anticipating for next year is Jane Campion's six-part mini-series "Top Of The Lake."
Led by "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss, the Gerard Lee co-scripted tale follows the story of detective Robin Griffin as she loses herself investigating the disappearance of the 12-year-old pregnant daughter of a local drug lord in remote, mountainous New Zealand. The cast also features David Wenham, Peter Mullan and Holly Hunter with Garth Davis sharing directorial duties with Campion.
The currently-lensing project has topped up its cast with a trio of television stars in Lucy Lawless ('Spartacus,' 'Xena'), Robyn Malcolm ("Outrageous Fortune") and Jay Ryan (CBS' upcoming 'Beauty & The Beast' pilot) with Lawless set to play the estranged wife of Bob, a real estate agent who crosses drug lord Matt Mitchum (Mullan); Malcolm to play a woman searching for spiritual answers from local women's camp guru (Hunter); while Ryan will portray Mark Mitchum, presumably the son of Mullan's drug lord, who noted his character is involved with "bikers and Harley Davidsons." It'll be fascinating to see just how all these characters cross the story of Moss' detective and the mystery at hand.
Recent NZ press for the film has also provided a few set photos which include the first look at Tui, the aforementioned missing 12 year old played by Jacqueline Joe, and what looks like Moss facing away from the camera. If anything, though, it looks like the story's remote setting should factor heavily as it did in "The Piano" with the film noted to explore "people living on the edge of the wilderness, so it's a psychic space in a way and that position offers up the characters opportunities and also challenges."
"Top Of The Lake" is being backed by Emile Sherman and Ian Canning of See-Saw Films ("The King's Speech," "Shame") alongside Escapade Pictures' Phillippa Campbell and will hit small screens sometime next year through BBC Worldwide, Sundance Channel and UKTV -- the latter of which replaced Australian network ABC who controversially pulled out of its $600,000 financial commitment after Moss was cast as the Australian protagonist. [TVLine/NZHerald/NZHerald/OtagoDaily/OtagoDaily]