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21 05 2018 - Media release

SBS drama The Ropes in production


Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jack Thompson, Nicole Chamoun – Credit Tony Mott

An internationally renowned, award-winning cast leads a new four-part SBS original drama The Ropes, which goes into production today in Sydney’s western suburbs.

Screen icon, Logies Hall Of Famer and AACTA Longford Lyell Award winner Jack Thompson features in the series alongside Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominated Keisha Castle-Hughes (Game of ThronesWhale Rider), acclaimed Israeli actor Igal Naor (Homeland, Riviera) and local breakout talent  Nicole Chamoun (Safe HarbourRomper Stomper).

Produced by Lingo Pictures for SBS, The Ropes is a sexy, gritty drama that is fast-paced and full of heart. It follows aspiring Iraqi-Australian boxing trainer Amirah Al-Amir (Chamoun) who has idolised her world champion father Sami (Naor) her entire life. While working in the family gym in Sydney’s west alongside her two brothers, Amirah negotiates a professional debut match for her hardnosed fighter Jess O’Connor (Castle-Hughes) with Sami’s long-time promoter Strick (Thompson). Furious that she has done this behind his back, her father threatens to cut her off. Desperate to chase her dream of transforming women’s boxing, will Amirah choose her fighter or her family?

Directed by Shannon Murphy (Offspring, Love Child), The Ropes is produced by Helen Bowden (Wake in Fright, The Slap) and Courtney Wise (Fragments of Friday) and executive produced by Sue Masters (SBS) and Jason Stephens (Lingo Pictures). Writers include Tamara Asmar (Doctor DoctorLove Child), Adam Todd (Wentworth, Sea Patrol) and Ian Meadows (House Husbands).

SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said: “The Ropes continues SBS’s run of acclaimed provocative dramas that reflect Australian stories through a uniquely multicultural lens. This compelling and intense series is distinctly SBS, showcasing the complex and nuanced relationships of a migrant family alongside the physicality and deep-seated culture of misogyny in the sporting world. 

“We are thrilled to be creating this stellar drama with the team at Lingo Pictures and an incredibly talented cast with a wealth of experience from all corners of the globe.”

Producers Helen Bowden and Courtney Wise said: “SBS has been supporting beautiful, daring drama and we are delighted to be working with them on The Ropes. The world of boxing is passionate and fraught with adversity and creating a female driven story within this world is exciting. We are thrilled by the talented cast attached to portray this, including a fearless gang of women lead by Keisha Castle-Hughes and Nicole Chamoun.”

Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia said: “The Ropes is a story of female defiance that tackles gender inequality, multi-generational conflicts and the challenges faced by displaced immigrant families. Helmed by a predominantly female creative team, this series is yet another meaty drama commission from SBS who are at the top of their game with back-to-back high quality series from Safe Harbour to SunshineThe Principal and Deep Water.”

Create NSW Director of Screen Sector Investment, Sophia Zachariou added: “The Ropes is a fantastic project for NSW that delivers realistic Western Sydney locations and storytelling as well as great representation for female and culturally and linguistically diverse filmmakers, cast and crew. In addition to funding, we are also proud to foster new creative talent in the Australian screen industry by supporting director Shannon Murphy with two female crew attachments for the series.”

Also appearing in the series is Louis Hunter (Troy, Out of the Blue), Michael Denkha (Devils Playground, The Code), Tyler De Nawi (Doctor DoctorHere Come the Habibs!), Neveen Hanna (Tidelands, The Principal), Nader Hamden (East West 101), Priscilla Doueihy (Back in the Game), Setareh Naghoni, Claude Jabbour and introducing Bonzana Diab and Otis Dhanji.

The Ropes is a Lingo Pictures production for SBS, with principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW.

The Ropes will premiere on SBS and SBS On Demand later in 2018. 


Launched in mid-2015, LINGO is owned by Helen Bowden and Jason Stephens, two of Australia’s most prolific and highly awarded television drama producers. In 2017 Lingo produced the mini-series Wake in Fright. Based on the iconic Australian novel, the series was written by Stephen M Irwin, directed by Kriv Stenders and starred Sean Keenan, David Wenham, Alex Dimitriades and Robyn Malcolm. The show won two 2017 AACTA Awards and a Silver World Medal at the 2018 New York Festivals International TV & Film Awards. Currently in production is the mini-series Lambs of God, starring Ann Dowd, Essie Davis, Jessica Barden and Sam Reid. Helen Bowden has twice received the TV Week Logie and the AACTA for Best Mini-Series in the same year – for The Slap in 2010 and for Devil’s Playground in 2015. Jason Stephens produced five television dramas between 2010 and 2014 under a joint venture with FremantleMedia: Killing TimeDevils DustMr and Mrs MurderBetter Man; and Schapelle.

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