(Spoiler alert: Read at your own risk if you haven’t seen all of Amazon’s “Picnic at Hanging Rock.”)
By the end of the Amazon limited series “Picnic at Hanging Rock” audiences still don’t know what happened to the girls who went missing at the beginning. But showrunner and director Larysa Kondracki hopes her “enchanted chiller” will give fans an “emotionally satisfying conclusion” nonetheless.
If that’s not good enough for you, Kondracki told TheWrap she has her own “cockamamy idea” about what happened to the young ladies at the center of the TV adaptation based on Joan Lindsay’s iconic Australian novel of the same name, which the director describes as “‘Heathers’ meets ‘The Breakfast Club,’ with a little bit of ‘The Shining.'”
Former “Game of Thrones” star Natalie Dormer leads the cast as Mrs. Hester Appleyard, the enigmatic headmistress of Appleyard College, a boarding school that she established for young ladies isolated in Australian bushland. The story centers around the mysterious disappearances of three schoolgirls and one teacher on Valentine’s Day in 1900 and the subsequent investigation, covering its impact on students, families and staff at Appleyard College and the nearby town.
“Every single person involved in the show has a different feeling,” Kondracki said, before moving on to her own zainy theory.
“I think none of them existed. I think it all happened in Appleyard’s head,” Kondracki told TheWrap. “She was a woman who was robbed of her own ability to form the role that she wanted to be. Her life was stolen from her by this love/abuser/whatever Arthur is. So I think all of these women, all of these girls are different versions of the kind of woman that she wanted to be and it’s only when she realizes, a little bit too late, that the pretense of what she became was wrong. And really, she probably just needed a good hug or a good shag and a little bit of therapy — and then she jumped off a cliff. So I think it all happens in her head.”
Kondracki said she wants audiences to feel satisfied when all is said and done — even though it is left open-ended — “because that’s six hours of your life. And that’s important… But I also want you to argue about what happened and that’s kind of half the fun about the show.”
Even if audiences don’t get the “easiest wrap up” as to where they went, “you’ll know who they were… and why they wanted to run away in the first place,” she added.
Starring alongside Dormer as the three students who mysteriously vanish are Samara Weaving (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “The Babysitter”) as Irma Leopold, a Rothschild heiress; Madeleine Madden (“Tomorrow When The War Began,” “High Life”) as Marion Quade, daughter of a high court Justice; and Lily Sullivan (“Camp,” “Jungle”) as Miranda Reid, the rebellious tomboy who grew up with four brothers on a cattle station.
Other cast members include Lola Bessis (“Swim Little Fish Swim”), Yael Stone (“Orange Is The New Black”), Anna McGahan (“Underbelly”), Sibylla Budd (“The Secret Life of Us”), Ruby Rees (“Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”) and Inez Curro (“Little Heart”).
“Picnic at Hanging Rock” is available for streaming now on Amazon Prime.