Population 11: The Cast Explain Their ‘Fargo’-esque New Stan Series

Population 11: The Cast Explain Their ‘Fargo’-esque New Stan Series

Australia has been home to many quirky stories, but the disappearance of a man from a remote outback town of just twelve residents is certainly at the top of the list. Paddy Moriarty’s disappearance is the jumping-off point for Stan’s new original series, Population 11, which sees star and producer Ben Feldman (Superstore, Mad Men) portray the missing man’s American son, who travels to the fictional remote town of Bidgeedud to locate him.

So, what is Population 11?

population 11 tv show
Image: Stan

Initially, it may be hard to put a finger on Population 11. The story of Paddy Moriarty has already been told with some success in Netflix’s Last Stop Larrimah, so instead of retreading the same ground, Population 11 takes this concept and infuses it with comedy. As stars Ben Feldman, Perry Mooney (Gold Diggers) and Stephen Curry (Hounds of Love) told Lifehacker Australia, the TV series is fairly unique.

“It’s loosely based [on Paddy Moriarty], there are some similarities,” Mooney said, adding it was Population 11’s wild idea of UFOs that hooked her.

“[With] most of the comedy in this, people aren’t intentionally trying to be funny. I think that Last Stop Larrimah does that very well,” Curry added.

For Feldman, his role of Andy was somewhat a case of life imitating art as he uprooted his life to travel to rural Derby in Western Australia to film the series.

“I was looking for any reason to say, ‘No, I’m not gonna leave my family and go to the outback for three months’. But it had everything that I wanted to do in it. It was great and I was fascinated and I couldn’t put the script down. The characters were all so unique and the setting was so strange and different and weird,” Feldman said.

“I had said before, I’m not doing anything unless it’s something I would watch myself, and this is exactly the kind of show my wife and I would harass our friends [about].”

“When I try and describe it to people, it’s like Fargo [or] almost like Northern Exposure from back in the day,” he added.

Who are the residents?

population 11 tv show
Image: Stan

Feldman’s Andy arrives in a town full of quirky occupants, all eleven of them somewhat mistrustful of this international interloper.

“[There are] so many different character types—kind of tropes—in there, but they are presented and developed and realised in a way that makes them really interesting people to watch,” Stephen Curry, who plays one such resident, said.

Curry’s character is Noel, a character the actor describes as “a complete narcissist”

“He is more distrusting of everyone else than everyone else is…” Curry explained. “As with all good narcissists, he’s the only one who’s smart and funny. He’s the only one with the right ideas. And he’s so deluded because no one likes him… but he’s so much fun to play because of that lack of self-awareness.”

Mooney’s character Cassie is, like Andy, another newcomer to the town. Cassie and Andy form a friendship based on a mutual need for information – Andy’s being the whereabouts of his father and Cassie’s, the promise of a juicy story that can boost her journalism career.

“[Cassie’s] just someone who’s looking for information all the time,” Mooney shared. “I don’t really know any journalists personally so I kind of went, ‘What would what would I do if I was in this situation?’”

Population 11 cast share filming adventures in rural Australia

population 11 tv show
Image: Stan

The filming conditions of Population 11 are almost as interesting as the onscreen story itself. The series required the entire cast and crew to relocate to Derby and adopt a variety of rural rituals like snake stomping. Feldman admitted to eating many dinners at the local petrol station.

“I came in thinking, this is something that everybody’s used to. Don’t you all have crocodiles in your backyard? And they were like, no, we’re tourists here too, this is just as crazy for us as well. So we were all kind of going through it together,” he said.

The actor and executive producer added that the remoteness of the location forced everyone to bond and gave him a greater appreciation for Australian film crews.

“It’s a vibe… they want to get it done. They’re excited about doing the art. You say to them, ‘Guys, I’m so sorry, but we have to shoot on a Saturday so we’re going to chop up your weekend.’ They’re willing…” Feldman said. “They showed up and they worked really, really hard and they didn’t complain. Which is more than I can say for a lot of us on the other side of the ocean.”

Why Population 11 is such an Australian story

Population 11’s representation of Australia and its people is two-fold. Australians will no doubt see familiar quirks in many of the characters, even if some of them are dialled up to, well, eleven. Meanwhile, those outside of Australia have a window into the country and its culture through Andy.

“This country is so stunning, and there are places that people don’t think of going to because they don’t see it often. Seeing Derby the way that it looks in this show, I think it really helps,” Mooney said.

“[It has] the Australian sort of sensibility of being a bit self-effacing and a little bit dry in the humour. I think that’s the sort of thing that international audiences respond to, you know, going back to Crocodile Dundee,” Curry continued. “It’s a sort of a similar idea where you’ve got this American character plunked into this ridiculous and inhospitable alien environment, surrounded by these kinds of kooks that all make up one big collage of what it is to be in the outback of Australia.”

Population 11 also includes one crucial Aussie ingredient: the meat pie.

The Stan Original Series Population 11 is streaming now, only on Stan.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply