Alex Williams, the Australian actor who played Julian Assange in the 2012 television movie Underground: The Julian Assange Story, has been cast as the lead role of Shane Warne in Channel Nine’s controversial miniseries Warnie.
Photos taken from the set on Tuesday showed Williams in full character as they strolled alongside actress Marny Kennedy, who portrays his ex-wife Simone Callahan.
Production on the two-part drama began in Melbourne this week.
Alex Williams, left, has been cast as the lead role of Shane Warne in Channel Nine’s controversial miniseries, Warnie
It comes less than two months after nine executives were said to be in ‘crisis talks’ over the project, which the cricket legend’s family had publicly labeled as ‘disrespectful’.
Warne’s former manager James Erskine met in September with the network’s television director, Michael Healy and head of drama Andy Ryan, on behalf of the family.
“They both assured me that this would be a celebration of Shane Warne. I trust them, I trust Healy,” Erskine said The Herald Sun.
The Australian actor is best known for playing Julian Assange (pictured) in Underground: The Julian Assange Story
Photos taken from the set on Tuesday show Williams in full character as she strolls alongside actress Marny Kennedy, who portrays his ex-wife Simone Callahan.
“Now we know that Shane was a colorful character, there’s no getting around that. You can’t decontaminate it and suddenly say he’s a preacher.
“But they have assured me that it will be done the right way. When they eventually give up, the whole world will be watching.’
Shane’s oldest daughter Brooke, 24, called Nine’s announcement of a telefilm based on her father “more than disrespectful.”
‘Do any of you have any respect for Daddy? Or his family?’ she wrote on Instagram.
Warne’s eldest daughter called Channel Nine’s announcement of a telefilm based on the cricket great just months after he died, “beyond disrespectful”. Brooke Warne, (right) wrote: ‘Do any of you have any respect for Daddy? Or his family?’
“He did so much for Channel Nine and now you want to dramatize his life and that of our family six months after his death? You are more than disrespectful.’
According to Nine, 9Network and Screentime met the Warne family during pre-production and have since changed their tune and now support the series.
“The 9Network looks forward to working with the family as filming continues,” Nine said in a statement.
The network has billed the production, titled Warnie, as a “must-see drama event” to be screened over two nights.
“This will be a fitting tribute to one of the greatest Australians of all time, the Aussie larrikin who lived and loved big,” a Nine spokesperson said.
Actress Marny Kennedy portrays Warnie’s ex-wife Simone Callahan
Shane Warne was an Australian legend, a cultural icon, a cricket genius, a charmer and a villain. “Warnie” transcended cricket.
“Like all great characters, he inspired extreme reactions from people from all walks of life, in Australia and around the world.”
Production on the biopic reportedly began just three weeks after the Spin King died of natural causes in March at the age of 52.
Nine revealed the amazing cast for the miniseries, with Marny Kennedy (Between Two Worlds, Janet King) as Simone Callahan.
An Australian actress plays Warne’s ex-girlfriend, Liz Hurley (pictured)
Newcomer Shanti Kali is believed to be (pictured)
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 said to have landed the lead role, while an actress who plays Warne’s ex-girlfriend Liz Hurley will also appear in the telefilm.
Warne spent 23 years as a commentator for Nine’s cricket coverage and was closely associated with former owners Kerry and James Packer and ex-CEO David Gyngell.
Warne (pictured in 2005) spent 23 years as a commentator for Nine’s cricket coverage and was close to former owners Kerry and James Packer and ex-CEO David Gyngell
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