The original Australian series is streaming on Netflix, for those who are interested in checking out the mini-series.
Titled “The Slap,” the Australian TV 8-part mini, which co-starred Sophie Okonedo, is based on the award-winning novel by Christos Tsiolkas, which traces the shattering repercussions of a single event on a group of family and friends. At an Australian backyard barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his son. The boy’s parents are so affronted by the assault that they call the police and legal action results, as questions of parenting, the rights of children, race, class, sexuality and the different perspectives of men and women are tackled.
Sophie Okonedo played “Aisha.” Here’s how ABC Australia’s website described her: “The slap took place at Aisha’s house, during her party for her husband’s 40th birthday. Hugo, the child who was slapped, is the son of one of her best friends, Rosie. On the other hand, Harry, the man who slapped Hugo, is her brother-in-law. She has her own reasons for siding with Rosie, which go far deeper than the slap itself, and threaten to unravel her family. Aisha is married to Hector. She is a woman whose resilience and strength holds her family together. She also is a successful professional woman with her own veterinary business. Entering her forties, she is assailed by doubts about her marriage and future. The slap at the barbecue has left her torn, her loyalties divided between her husband and one of her oldest friends. She fights for what is important to her, but feels like she is losing her grip.”
Okonedo co-starred in the mini-series alongside acclaimed thespians in Melissa George, Jonathan LaPaglia, Essie David, Alex Dimitriades, and Anthony Hayes.
The series was nominated for a BAFTA for Best International Program and won 5 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television awards, including Best Miniseries.
NBC, here in the USA, developed an American adaptation of the Australian miniseries, with “Brothers & Sisters” creator Jon Robin Baitz, writing the teleplay, and Thandie Newton cast in what will be an eight-episode miniseries, which Melissa George, Peter Sarsgaard, Mary-Louise Parker, Zachary Quinto and Brian Cox are also starring in.
Newton plays the role Okonedo originated in the Australian mini – Aisha, Hector’s (Sarsgaard’s) wife.
Here’s how NBC breaks down its version: “It’s Hector’s 40th birthday, and his wife is throwing him a big party with lots of friends, family and food for what will undoubtedly be a happy, celebratory day. Or so they think. As Hector tries to navigate family politics, awkward friendships and the younger woman he’s secretly seeing on the side, the built-up tension explodes when Hector’s hotheaded cousin slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. Everyone is understandably stunned, and the party abruptly ends – with the child’s parents vowing legal action as they leave. But what the hosts and guests don’t know is that this moment will ignite a chain of events that will uncover long-buried secrets within this group of friends and family… and vigorously challenge the core values of everyone involved.”
It premieres on February 12, on NBC.
The images above and below are official press photos for the series.
Below, Thandie Newton talks about what her character’s contribution is to the series, as well as what can be expected from the program, relating it to her own personal experiences: