Yvonne Strahovski, well known for her portrayal of Serena Joy Waterford on HBO’s The Handmaid’s Tale, will star in the upcoming psychological drama, Stateless. Cate Blanchett is the co-creator and producer of the series, which she and NBC Universal’s Australian shingle Matchbox Pictures have been developing for the past four years.
The series follows four strangers in an Australian immigration detention center, each possessing a unique history. Among the ensemble is an airline hostess who has managed to escape a suburban cult, a bureaucrat who is entangled in a national scandal, a father in the process of leaving a dead-end job, and an Afghan refugee facing persecution back home. The series, which is inspired by real events, will boast an all-female writing and directing team. It is based upon the harrowing true story of Cornelia Rau, a German Australian woman. In 2004, Rau found herself entangled in a web of legal and psychiatric systems after fleeing a cult. Eventually, she found herself in Australia’s Baxter immigration detention center.
Although the story is set in Australia, Blanchett speaks to its ability to connect with a global audience. “Whilst this story centers on Australia, the dilemmas that it explores through four absorbing characters will resonate globally: the desire for personal freedom, the need for social stability, an escalating lack of faith in the political process and the deeply unsettling impact this has on individual lives,” said the actress, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Executive Producer and co-creator Tony Ayres elaborated upon this. “We have assembled the most extraordinary array of Australian talent to make this show, both in front of and behind the camera,” the screenwriter said of Stateless. “In each case, people were drawn to Stateless because it asks one of the most vexing questions of our times: How do we as a nation maintain control of our sovereign borders whilst retaining our own humanity?”
Not only has Blanchett co-created and produced the six-episode series, she is also slated to act and direct for Stateless. Elise McCredie, who co-created the show alongside Blanchett and Ayres, will act as a showrunner and writer on Stateless. Actors Jai Courtney, Asher Keddie, Fayssal Bazzi, and Dominic West will star alongside Strahovski.
NBC Universal International Distribution will distribute Stateless worldwide.