James Hardie mini-series wraps a day after high court judgement

Anthony Hayes as Bernie Banton

A two part mini-series about the James Hardie asbestos tragedy will wrap filming today, a day after the High Court handed down a decision on the company’s directors.

The High Court found the seven directors of the asbestos manufacturer had committed breaches over the company’s asbestos compensation fund.

The mini-series Devil’s Dust, scheduled for the ABC and based on real events and people, follows three men, Bernie Banton an asbestos suffer and former James Hardie worker played by Anthony Hayes, Adam Bourke who discovered Hardie was selling a carcinogenic product, played by Don Hany and Matt Peacock, an ABC journalist, played by Ewen Leslie.

Ewen Leslie

Matt Peacock

As Matt Peacock reported on last night’s 7:30 Report: “James Hardie was Australia’s biggest producer of asbestos cement. In 2001, Meredith Hellicar and her fellow directors moved the company offshore, leaving behind a compensation foundation to pay its asbestos victims. A media release at the time said that the foundation was fully funded and would provide certainty for the victims. In fact, it was $1.5 billion short and soon faced bankruptcy.”

Produced by FremantleMedia, Devil’s Dust producer Jason Stephens told Encore: “We’re excited from what we’ve seen from the rushes and it’s timely considering the high court decision of the James Hardie case yesterday.”

ABC hasn’t announced an air date yet for the production but Stephens said: “We’re delivering in August. It’s been a big project that has been developed for some time and it looks fantastic. We couldn’t be happier.”

The production has been directed by Jess Hobbs who also helmed episodes of The Slap and was written by Kris Mrksa who wrote episodes of The Slap, Underbelly and East West 101 among TV projects.

In a previous statement, Carole Sklan, head of fiction at the ABC, said: “This is a powerful, inspiring drama which has attracted an outstanding cast and creative team. ABC TV is proud to present the human story at the heart of this on-going national tragedy.”




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