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Since her first appearance in Season 2 of Game of Thrones, Margaery Tyrell was an important cog in the machine that is Westeros, but without that happening anymore, actress Natalie Dormer is now heading to lands that aren't quite so dangerous. But danger is still very much an issue, as Dormer has signed on to lead a large ensemble for an upcoming miniseries adaptation that reimagines the events of the acclaimed novel Picnic at Hanging Rock, which centers on a series of mysterious disappearances and the aftermath that rocks the local community.
In a more subdued turn than how things play out on the HBO epic, Natalie Dormer will star as Hester Appleyard, the headmistress of Appleyard College for Young Ladies. In the novel, which plays out as if a true story is being told, Mrs. Appleyard takes several teachers and students out for a picnic at the Australian landmark Hanging Rock, where something happens that leads to the disappearance of a handful of schoolchildren and one of the educators. The mystery takes several different strange turns as the local townsfolk aim to figure out what happened, and it should be interesting to see how this "21st century retelling" will alter the events of Joan Lindsay's 1967 novel. I'm betting Dormer will speak up about anything she doesn't like.
And now, a round-up of the rest of this cast of characters, starting with Appleyard's teachers. Orange is the New Black's Yael Stone will star as Miss Dora Lumley, mistress of Deportment and Bible Studies; France KBEK star Lola Bessis will play Mademoiselle Dianne de Poitiers, mistress of French Conversation, Music and Dance; The Doctor Blake Mysteries' Anna McGahan is Miss Greta McCraw, mistress of Geography and Mathematics; then there's Tomorrow, When the War Began actress Sibylla Budd as Mrs. Valange, mistress of Art and Literature. And for the students: Camp's Lily Sullivan is Miranda Reid, Tomorrow, When the War Began's Madeleine Madden is Marion Quade, Monster Trucks' Samara Weaving is Irma Leopold, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' Ruby Rees is Edith Horton, and newcomer Inez Curro is Sara Waybourne. And there are dozens of other names that will play other characters.
Hailing from FremantleMedia Australia, Picnic at Hanging Rock will give Natalie Dormer six episodes with which to befuddle audiences. At this time, the drama is only set to air on the Australian network Foxtel. But with Dormer and others now attached to what is already a pretty buzzworthy project, we can perhaps expect Starz or Netflix to step in and acquire the U.S. rights, as well as the U.K. rights, so Dormer can watch when she's back home. The project was written by playwright and screenwriter Beatrix Christian and TV scribe Alice Addison.
Though she's now best known as a thorn in Cersei's side on Game of Thrones, Natalie Dormer has been quite familiar with the small screen across her career otherwise. She was a regular on dramas like The Tudors and The Fades, among others, and also had a notable turn on Elementary as Jamie Moriarty. On the big screen, her biggest score was in both of the Hunger Games: Mockingjay films, but she's got some great stuff coming, such as Farhad Safinia's The Professor and the Madman, also starring Mel Gibson, Sean Penn and Ioan Gruffudd.
Production on Picnic at Hanging Rock is set to kick off later this month in Victoria, Australia, so it's possible we could see this miniseries debut in 2017. While we're waiting, check out what's coming up in Game of Thrones Season 7 and head to our midseason premiere guide to see what else is hitting the small screen in the near future.