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The story begins when a group of six friends embark on a yacht trip from Brisbane to Indonesia, a chance for adventure and to enjoy a holiday at the same time. The group is just a day’s sail from their destination when something appears on the horizon. Another boat. The group come to the aid of a broken-down asylum seekers’ boat, leading to a tragic series of events that return to haunt them four years later.


As for his approach to directing, Gillies says he pulled from his earlier theater days, “where it’s all about the words and the actions.”

“I felt really strongly that one of the aspects that’s most overlooked and forgotten is the thing that needs to be examined and treasured the most, which is the acting itself,” he explains. “When you work in television, particularly television with a fast turn-around, you’re often left to fend for yourself in terms of making decisions for your character. I guess I just wanted to see if I could create an environment where all I did was speak with the actors.”

And while all of his co-stars were “magnificent,” Gillies has particularly lovely things to say about Phoebe Tonkin, whose character is tasked with entering Elijah’s shattered mind in an attempt to put the pieces back together.

“Perhaps because I had the most to do with her character, but Phoebe was just outstanding,” he recalls. “In the cut that I delivered, I thought she did some of the best work she’s ever done on the show. She was so willing and committed. I really hope it’s as good as I remember it being.” (Something tells us it will be.)


SBS has today announced a stellar, award-winning ensemble cast to star in the new Matchbox Pictures produced drama series, Safe Harbour.

Safe Harbour is a bold psychological thriller set in Brisbane about a group of friends whose sailing holiday of a lifetime to Indonesia alters their lives forever after they cross paths with a fishing boat overloaded with asylum seekers enroute to Australia.

The four-part drama will feature Australian actress making waves internationally Phoebe Tonkin (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, H2O Just Add Water), AACTA and Logie award-winner Joel Jackson (Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door, Deadline Gallipoli) award-winning actor Ewen Leslie (Rake, Janet King, the upcoming second season of Top of the Lake), acclaimed actress Leeanna Walsman (Seven Types of Ambiguity, Cleverman, Looking for Alibrandi) and award winner Jacqueline McKenzie (The 4400, The Water Diviner). Other members of this superb ensemble cast include Hazem Shammas (Underbelly), Nicole Chamoun (Kick), Robert Rabiah (Tomorrow When the War Began) and more.

The series will be filmed on location in Brisbane, directed by Glendyn Ivin (Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Beautiful Lie) and produced for SBS by award-winning production company Matchbox Pictures (The Family Law, Secret City, Seven Types of Ambiguity, Wanted, Barracuda).

Safe Harbour is executive produced by SBS’s Sue Masters (The Principal, Deep Water, The Family Law) and produced by Matchbox Pictures’ Stephen Corvini (Better Man, Hyde & Seek).

SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said: “Safe Harbour continues SBS’s run of making bold and thought-provoking drama, following The Principal, Deep Water and the recently announced Sunshine. This is a series with heart and purpose, that only SBS could make – a psychological thriller that will both captivate audiences and get them talking about issues that impact all of us.

“We are excited to be working with the enormously talented Matchbox Pictures team and a brilliant young ensemble cast who bring the story to life in beautiful Brisbane.”

Head of Production at Screen Australia, Sally Caplan:
“SBS consistently delivers high quality Australian dramas that have the ability to start national conversations, as we saw with other Screen Australia supported titles Deep Water and The Principal. Safe Harbour will undoubtedly continue in this tradition. Phil Enchelmaier, Belinda Chayko and Matt Cameron’s script is as compelling as it is timely, and we commend the Matchbox team on assembling such a diverse and talented ensemble of actors to bring it to life.”

CEO of Screen Queensland Tracey Vieira, said:
“Screen Queensland is immensely proud to be a key partner in Safe Harbour which originated from Queensland creatives Simon Kennedy and Phil Enchelmaier. Through Matchbox and SBS, this bold compelling series has been developed into a drama that will impact the hearts of Australians as brought to life by this stellar cast of actors.”

Matchbox Pictures Producer Stephen Corvini said:
“Matchbox Pictures is proud to be making Safe Harbour for SBS with the support of Screen Australia and Screen Queensland. We’ve assembled a brilliant cast that is set to entertain and enthral an audience with a view of some of the timeliest and urgent discussions going on in our world right now.”

The four-part series is a Matchbox Pictures production for SBS, and is produced with major production funding from Screen Australia in association with Screen Queensland with NBC Universal handling international sales.


The CW has opted to extend the Mikaelsons’ stay in New Orleans, renewing The Originals for a fifth season.

As previously reported, Michael Narducci will not return as showrunner for Season 5. Instead, series creator — and former Vampire Diaries showrunner — Julie Plec will call the shots. Leslie Morgenstern (TVD) will also executive-produce.

The Originals follows, as its title suggests, the world’s first family of vampires — plus a few hybrids and witches thrown in for good measure. Now midway through its fourth season, the show is pitting its heroes against their most powerful foe yet, a mysterious entity known as The Hollow.

Thus far this season The Originals is averaging 980,000 total viewers and a 0.3 rating, up in audience versus Season 3 but down a tick in the demo (where it matches the recently axed Frequency and No Tomorrow and bests Reign and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).


Phoebe Tonkin joined millions of people around the world protesting for women’s rights in January when she hit the streets of LA with a “the future is female” slogan stamped across her chest. So, when the opportunity to join French women in solidarity last week in Paris on International Women’s Day, she was the first to don a red beret and front up to La Republique.

“Coincidentally, it was my one free day,” says the actress, who was in the city for Paris Fashion Week. “I would have done something similar in LA or NYC had I not been in Paris. Having done the women’s march in January, it feels really important to me to show up to these events and rally together with others in solidarity. The energy at both the March in downtown LA and that of the rally at Republique were the same—a lot of joy, support, and unity.”

While Tonkin doesn’t speak a word of French, she says the atmosphere was one of positivity. “There was something quite musical about the combination of drums and chants in a foreign language. But even though I couldn’t translate exactly what was being said, I understood the sentiment. There was a great moment when all these women held hands and did a choreographed dance. There was a very sweet man handing out free cups of mint tea, and there were some women who had brought homemade baked goods. Everyone there just wanted to support each other and come together to celebrate women.”

With camera in hand, Tonkin documented the moment and shares her personal snaps here with The message she took away: “That women’s rights, and equality, are global issues. That what is happening domestically in the USA affects women around the world. That posing hateful rhetoric and sexist comments will not be tolerated by anyone, no matter what country they live in. And that women, young and old, are the greatest supporters of one another.” Hear, hear!



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