Desert King: Australian Netflix neo-western series starts production

New Australian drama Desert King has begun shooting in Darwin and Adelaide for Netflix.

A new Australian neo-western series, Desert King (working title), has begun production on the traditional land of the Larrakia people (Darwin, Northern Territory) and the Kaurna people (Adelaide, South Australia).

Desert King is described as an explosive drama about power, family, land and legacy. When the world’s largest cattle station is left without a clear successor, generational clashes threaten to tear the Lawson family apart. Sensing this once great dynasty is in decline, the outback’s most powerful factions – rival cattle barons, desert gangsters, Indigenous elders and billionaire miners – move in for the kill.

Desert King is currently one of the largest local screen productions filmed in both the Territory and South Australia. 

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Desert King. Image: Netflix.

Desert King is the ultimate tale of big land, big money and all the high-stakes drama that come with it,’ said Netflix Director of Content ANZ, Que Minh Luu. ‘We’re excited to be shooting our next premium Australian series in the Northern Territory for the first time, where this epic family drama is set, and at the world-class production facilities in South Australia.

‘We’re working with some of Australia’s leading creators and crew to bring to life a version of this country we’re proud to show to our members both here at home and around the world.’

The series is created by Tim Lee (Mystery Road, Bump) and Ben Davies; executive produced by Ben Davies (Bondi Rescue, The First Inventors, Outback Ringer), Rob Gibson and Ian Collie (The Twelve, Jack Irish, Colin from Accounts); produced by Paul Ranford (Stateless, True History of the Kelly Gang) and directed by Greg McLean (La Brea, Wolf Creek)It’s a joint production between Easy Tiger and Ronde.

‘We’re beyond excited to be heading into the remote outback to make this epic and distinctively Australian drama for audiences worldwide on Netflix,’ said Executive Producers Ben Davies and Rob Gibson. ‘And we’re thrilled to have assembled an incredibly creative team, on and off-screen, to do justice to the rarely-seen world, characters and stories of the Top End – a place where timeless meets modern, and where landscape is life and livelihood, but also mortal danger. More soon!’

Desert King is backed by Northern Territory Government’s Production Attraction Incentive Program (PAIP) and by funding from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) through the SAFC Screen Production Fund.  

Post-production is also taking place in South Australia, supported by the SAFC’s SA Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Rebate.

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Desert King. Image: Netflix.

Prior to production, Netflix and Screen Territory partnered on the First Nations Production Ready Bootcamp to support ten First Nations participants by providing a comprehensive overview of the ins and outs of screen production, while also preparing them for trainee and attachment positions.

Desert King (working title) will be released globally on Netflix, with a streaming date to be confirmed.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports