After more than a decade as one of Australia’s musical theatre stars, WAAPA alumni Lucy Durack (Wicked, Legally Blonde, Sisters) is set to make her writing debut with Lift, a 7-part rom-com web series set entirely in an elevator. The series, which has just kicked off filming at Johnny Ma Studios in Perth today, will be an intimate look at the literal and metaphorical ups and downs of jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, Olivia and strait-laced Simon as they travel the floors of their corporate office building, Urban Water Utilities.
What if soul mates met in a scenario where they could only connect for four minutes at a time? Olivia is on her way to a job interview and Simon, a total stranger, is about to propose to his girlfriend. But as soon as they meet, they sense a connection. They work in different offices, and come from different worlds – yet the more rides Olivia and Simon share, the more undeniable their camaraderie becomes.
Lift is created & written by Lucy Durack, Jess Murray and Leon Murray of writing collective Platinum Lining, directed by Western Australian director-on-the-rise, Zoe Pepper, produced by Lauren Elliott of Mad Kids and Executive Produced by Chloe Rickard of Jungle Entertainment.
ABOVE: Lucy Durack, Duncan Ragg, Mark Coles Smith and Vivienne Garrett.
After securing Elevate Short Form Development and Production funding from Screenwest in September 2017, Mad Kids has assembled an impressive ensemble cast consisting of Duncan Ragg (acclaimed theatre performer and NIDA-graduate) as Simon, Mark Coles Smith (Last Cab to Darwin, Pawno) as love rival Guy and Vivienne Garrett (The Norman Gunston Show) as Head of HR Lynne - the eyes and ears of Urban Water Utilities. Lucy will also star in the series as Olivia.
“I am so excited to be making my writing debut in my hometown of Perth, alongside Lauren, Zoe and Chloe. I am thrilled to be working with such a brilliant team of female filmmakers. Rehearsals with Duncan, Mark and Vivienne went really well over the weekend and I can’t wait to start shooting today!” said Lucy.
“Programs like Screenwest’s Elevate Initiative are crucial in developing emerging Western Australian talent and growing our film & TV industry. Mad Kids first received Elevate funding in 2013 for our web series, The Legend of Gavin Tanner, which led to us having a half hour pilot commissioned by the ABC, securing representation with CAA in Los Angeles and building an ongoing relationship with broadcasters in both Australia and the US. We have an incredible team of up-and-coming Western Australian crew and volunteers who are working tirelessly to bring Lift to life, as well as Sage Hotel West Perth who are hosting our lovely actors and Liftronic who have donated materials for our elevator set!” said Producer, Lauren Elliott.
Director Zoe Pepper is a recent recipient of Screenwest’s Feature Navigator program – a comprehensive, year-long filmmaker and project development initiative for Western Australian directors working toward a debut feature film. Following ten years as one of Western Australia’s top theatre directors, Lift will be one of Zoe’s first projects as a director for screen.
Lift will be available online globally in mid-2018!
LUCY DURACK (CREATOR / WRITER / OLIVIA)
Perth-raised, WAAPA alumni Lucy Durack is a writer, actor and singer, best known for playing Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical, for which she won both a Helpmann Award and Sydney Theatre Award. Together with Jess and Leon, Lucy has been honing her writing skills under the mentorship of some of Australia's leading production companies including Matchbox Pictures, Gristmill and Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder over the last six years. She has now written and developed five comedy projects and is set to produce her first web series in 2018. She has recently appeared on television in The Letdown, The Moodys, Upper Middle Bogan, Here Come The Habibs and Doctor Doctor as well as in the films Goddess and Now Add Honey starring opposite Portia de Rossi and Hamish Blake. In addition to all of her Platinum Lining projects, Lucy has written countless hours of material for her nationally broadcast ABC radio show My Soundtrack. In 2017, Lucy was seen on screen in Season 2 of Doctor Doctor on Channel Nine, The Letdown on ABC, starred as Roxy Karibas in Channel Ten’s Sisters and also reprised her role as Glinda in The Wizard of Oz.
DUNCAN RAGG (SIMON)
One of Australia’s most exciting and talented young actors and directors, Duncan Ragg graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and L’École Philippe Gaulier. His acting theatre credits include There Will Be A Climax (Red Line Productions), The Kitchen Sink (Ensemble Theatre), Cock (Auckland Live/Silo Theatre), Writing for Performance (Michael Gow, NIDA) and Kandahar Gate (Stephen Sewell, NIDA). In 2016/17, he wrote and directed This, This Is Mine for The Corinthian Food Store, as well as assisting Judy Davis in directing Brian Friel's award-winning Faith Healer (Belvoir). In 2017, he appeared in Australian feature film 2:22 and in 2018 he will star in British feature Night of the Lotus, shot in Tanzania last year.
MARK COLES SMITH (GUY)
Hailing from Broome, Mark Coles Smith has worked across several performing arts' genres, first and foremost as an actor but also as a writer, producer and sound designer. He is best known for his roles in Pawno and Last Cab to Darwin, for which he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the AACTAs and a Best Supporting Actor win at the Film Critics' Circle of Australia Awards. In 2017, he won a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Play for his work on Leah Purcell's acclaimed adaption of The Drover's Wife. This year, Mark will appear in Foxtel's upcoming Picnic at Hanging Rock, while other TV credits include Doctor Doctor, Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell, The Gods of Wheat Street, Old School and Canadian series Hard Rock Medical. Mark is a WAAPA graduate with a degree in Aboriginal Theatre.
VIVIENNE GARRETT (LYNNE)
Vivienne Garrett is an award winning theatre, radio, screen actor and voice-over artist. She has worked with major theatre companies in Australia, with such luminaries as Mel Gibson, Geoffrey Rush and Jacki Weaver. Vivienne began her career as a teenager in TV shows like Number 96, Homicide, the Norman Gunston Show, Mother & Son and Bodyline. She has performed with the Sydney Theatre Company, MTC, South Australian and West Australian Theatre Companies, Black Swan, Playbox, Brainbox, Deckchair, Nimrod and the QTC. She has starred in many productions, most notably The Tempest, As You Like it, Measure for Measure, Waiting for Godot and The Clean House. Vivienne has directed 26 Short Stories for ABC radio national, Ursula's Ecstasy, The Spook, and Breastroke a play she devised and directed for stage and adapted for radio. Her WA TV appearances include Barron Films series, Hay Daze, Ship to Shore, Sweat, Streetsmartz, the ABC/Scottish TV series Minty and Shark Net. She won the WA Swan Gold Award for most outstanding female actor for her portrayal of Eleanor in Dead Funny and has been nominated for Live Acts on Stage, Equus and The Clean House, winning in 2014 for OTHER DESERT CITIES. Once wrapping on LIFT, Vivienne will appear in Black Swan’s 2018 production of Summer of The Seventeenth Doll.