Show of the Week: Last King Of The Cross

Last King Of The Cross

This Australian drama series has been inspired by John Ibrahim’s autobiography and charts his rise from a poverty-stricken immigrant with no education, no money and no prospects, to the country’s most infamous nightclub mogul.

“At its heart, this drama is a rags-to-riches tale that is salacious, violent and gripping,” says Mark Fennessy, who launched Helium Pictures last year. “It’s all set in the decadent, crime infested but very sexy district of Kings Cross in 1980s/90s Sydney – it’s a world within a world that few ever knew existed.”

The ten-part series stars Lincoln Younes (Grand Hotel, Tangle), Claude Jabbour (Eden, Stateless) and Tim Roth (She-Hulk, Lie to Me) and follows Lebanese-born teenager John and his older brother Sam, who quickly find themselves drawn to the glittering lights of the Cross.

“We set out to faithfully recreate the infamous world of Sydney’s Kings Cross circa late 80s/early 90s—a mini-Atlantic city not quite a mile long. So, we built it from the ground up in a car park in western Sydney,” reveals Fennessy.

“We populated the set with literally hundreds of extras bringing the strip to life in an authentic way – from street walkers and the homeless, to the Bikies and the Silvertails on a night out. And we were shooting during a major rain event, so we used this to our advantage with our DOP working with the directors to deliver beautifully framed imagery in cool tones with flashes of colour from the neon of the night.”

The two brothers enter this underworld and quickly make a name for themselves – one possesses incredible intelligence and invention, while the other provides muscle and intimidation. Together, they are unstoppable.

However, just as John is establishing himself as a nightclub owner, the cocaine wave hits Sydney and as rivers of money begin to flow in different directions, loyalties are questioned, and Kings Cross’ delicate ecosystem is spun into chaos.

For the first time in 30 years the kingdom is up for grabs. To gain control, the brothers must battle the reigning King of The Cross, Ezra Shipman, the looming threat of a Vietnamese gang led by the ruthless Madame Tien, various outlaw motorcycle clubs, and a corrupt police force that belongs to no one.

Fennessy describes the series as “epic in scope and operatic in tone, with a brilliant mix of characters and a thrilling and muti-layered plotline which delivers a big, bold event series that audiences will find gripping.”

He likens it to dramas such as The Sopranos, Gangs Of London, Gomorrah and Goodfellas but “in a refreshingly different and authentic manner and with significant points of difference to any of these, including the diversity of its characters.”

Lastly Fennessy adds, the setting is a stark contrast to the usual Australian backdrops seen on TV, such as of Bondi Beach and the Outback, “making it an attractive, different proposition for audiences.”

Broadcaster: Paramount+

Producer: Helium Pictures

Distributor: Cineflix Rights

Synopsis: Drama inspired by John Ibrahim’s autobiography charting his rise from a poverty-stricken immigrant with no education, no money, and no prospects to Australia’s most infamous nightclub mogul

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