The award-winning Australian series produced by Matchbox for the ABC was based on the novel of the same name by Christos Tsiolkas.
NBCU, the parent company for Matchbox, plucked it from the various offers from its worldwide network of boutique companies to re-concieve it for the US market. The eight episode series went into development in mid-2012 and has this week NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters at the Television Critics Association that the network has ordered The Slap together with its 75th anniversary retelling of The Wizard of Oz, entitled Emerald City.
Though Matchbox principal Tony Ayres has signed on as an Executive Producer, the US version has been completely rewritten by Jon Robin Baitz, known to us for The West Wing.
The suburban story begins at a backyard barbecue when an unrelated adult slaps a misbehaving child. The fallout leaves friends and family relationships in ruins. Tsiolkas set the story in a Greek Australian family with a racially-diverse group of characters, who were reproduced in the television series.
In directing some of the Australian production Matt Saville (below) emphasised the story’s Australian character and its ‘healthy cynicism towards political correctness’.
Both aspects will challenge the US remake.