Alex Williams has been cast as the lead role of Shane Warne in Channel Nine’s controversial miniseries ‘Warnie.’ The Australian actor is known for playing Julian Assange in the 2012 television film Underground: The Julian Assange Story. Photos taken from the set on Tuesday showed Williams in full character taking a stroll alongside actress Marny Kennedy, who is portraying his ex-wife Simone Callahan.
Production of Shane Warne docuseries commenced this week in Melbourne on the two-part drama. It comes less than two months after Nine execs were said to be in ‘crisis talks’ over the project, which the cricketing legend’s family had publicly labelled ‘disrespectful’. Warne’s former manager James Erskine met with the network’s director of television Michael Healy and head of drama Andy Ryan in September on behalf of the family.
Meanwhile, Shane’s eldest daughter Brooke previously called Nine’s announcement of a telemovie based on her father ‘beyond disrespectful’. According to Nine, the 9Network and Screentime met with the Warne family during pre-production and they have since changed their tune and now support the series. The network has billed the production, titled Warnie, as a ‘must-see drama event’ that will be shown over two nights.
Nine spokesperson said, “This will be the fitting tribute to one of the greatest Australians of all time, the Aussie larrikin who lived and loved large.” Production on the biopic reportedly began just three weeks after the Spin King died from natural causes in March at the age of 52. Nine unveiled its star cast for the miniseries, with Marny Kennedy, known for Between Two Worlds, Janet King, as Simone Callahan.
The biopic also stars Anthony Hayes (Gold, Light Between Oceans) and supports, including Jacquie Brennan, Jeremy Stanford, Ben Hall, Tom Stokes, Darcy Kent and newcomer Shanti Kali. An unknown actor is understood to have landed the starring role, while an actress playing Warne’s ex-girlfriend Liz Hurley is also set to appear in the telemovie. Warne spent 23 years as a commentator for Nine’s cricket coverage and had close ties with former owners Kerry and James Packer and ex-CEO David Gyngell.