M-Net, Quizzical Pictures and Fremantle today announce a new eight-part drama series, White Lies, starring award-winning actress Natalie Dormer (Games of Thrones, The Hunger Games, Picnic at Hanging Rock) and Brendon Daniels (Four Corners, Skemerdans, Trackers).
British actress Dormer is best known for her role as Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones. Her other notable credits include The Hunger Games, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. Joining Dormer as co-star is award-winning South African actor Brendon Daniels, whose impressive credits include the acclaimed film Four Corners, Skemerdans and Trackers, another M-Net international co-production.
An enthralling original crime thriller from South African producer Quizzical Pictures in partnership with Fremantle (previous collaborations include the International Emmy Award nominated M-Net hit Reyka), White Lies will start filming in Cape Town, South Africa, on 6 March 2023.
Created by Sean Steinberg and written by award-winning scriptwriter Darrel Bristow-Bovey, White Lies is an urgent exploration of race and privilege, inequality and identity centering on a strong female protagonist and diverse characters – all entangled in a riveting murder mystery.
Set in the wealthy neighbourhood of Bishopscourt, Cape Town, investigative journalist Edie Hansen (Dormer) gets caught up in the ugly underbelly that lies beneath the picturesque beauty of the city, dragging her back to a turbulent past.
Following her estranged brother’s murder in his luxury home, Edie’s world plunges deeper into chaos when her brother’s teenage children become prime suspects for the crime. As Edie investigates, she finds herself at loggerheads with veteran detective Forty Bell (Daniels), and grapples with the crumbling local police force, a corrupt political system, and the secretive world of extreme Cape wealth.
White Lies is produced by Harriet Gavshon and Nimrod Geva for Quizzical Pictures, with Dormer and Bristow-Bovey also serving as executive producers. The series’ lead director is The Wound’s John Trengove, whose latest film Manodrome with Jesse Eisenberg and Adrien Brody premiered at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival. Directing alongside Trengove are Thati Pele (Lerato), Catharine Cooke (Reyka) and Christiaan Olwagen (Poppie Nongena, Kanarie). Julie Hodge is executive producing on behalf of Fremantle; we are also distributing the series internationally.
Joining Dormer and Daniels are Langley Kirkwood (Warrior, The Catch, Inconceivable), Morgan Santo (Raised by Wolves), Daniel Schultz (Upon the Edge), Jane de Wet (The Girl from St. Agnes, Still Breathing), Katlego Lebogang (Wounds), Robert Hobbs (District 9, The Girl from St Agnes, Isibaya) and Athenkosi Mfamela (Knuckle City).
Natalie Dormer, who stars as Edie Hanson said: “I’m thrilled to be in Cape Town and begin this beautiful, gripping show. South Africa has so much to offer an international audience in its storytelling. I’m truly excited to bring Darrel’s eight episode page-turner to life with such a group of talented directors, led by John, and a superb ensemble cast.”
Waldimar Pelser, Director of Premium Channels at M-Net, says: “We are thrilled to announce this latest international co-production from the M-NET stable, and proud to be building new global content partnerships.
“White Lies brings together an exceptional creative team and stellar cast in a riveting story set in Cape Town, an iconic city with great natural beauty but also hidden undercurrents. We believe White Lies will resonate with series lovers locally and globally. Partnerships such as this one with Quizzical Pictures and Fremantle give shows the best shot at reaching their full potential, and cements M-Net’s reputation as the home of world-class entertainment,” he concludes.
Nomsa Philiso, CEO: General Entertainment at MultiChoice Group, echoes this: “International co-productions are an exciting strategy that M-Net has employed in recent years, and we are pleased to continue exploring new, more global ways of telling our stories to a larger audience. This helps our content to not only travel further than before, but also benefits the talent behind the scenes and in front of the camera when it comes to skills exchange and further opportunities for growth.”
Julie Hodge, Vice President Editorial, Global Drama at Fremantle said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Natalie again and announce this latest partnership with M-Net and Quizzical. White Lies is a multi-layered, psychological thriller which forces us to examine the darker side of wealth and affluence, and the complexity of family dynamics. I’ve no doubt that White Lies will build upon the stand-out success we have achieved with our first South African drama Reyka and we look forward to partnering again with Quizzical and M-Net on this new journey.”
Harriet Gavshon, Creative Director Quizzical Pictures and White Lies Producer said: “We are very happy to be working again with our partners at M-Net and Fremantle, and especially delighted to have Natalie Dormer join our South African cast. Once again, we are happy to showcase the wealth of South African talent both behind and in front of the camera.”