Australian comedian Celeste Barber is returning to her acting roots, making her debut as the lead in Wellmania, a new comedic drama series which has received an eight-episode order by Netflix. Barber also will serve as executive producer on the series inspired by Brigid Delaney’s novel Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness. The half-hour Wellmania will be produced by Fremantle Australia with principal photography in Gadigal Country, Eora Nation in Sydney, Australia.
Co-created by Delaney and Benjamin Law (The Family Law), in Wellmania, when human tornado Liv (Barber) has a major health crisis, she is forced to rethink her ‘live fast die young’ attitude. Throwing herself body-first into a wellness journey, she tries everything from the benign to the bizarre in an attempt to get well quick, and reclaim her old life.
“Celeste embodies exactly what Netflix ANZ is striving for – sparking global love for being our quintessentially Australian and funny selves,” said Que Minh Luu, Netflix’s Director of Content in Australia and New Zealand. “The search for wellness and meaning is a fundamentally human drive, and in a post-pandemic world this quest carries for us more weight than ever. To have an artist with Celeste’s warmth and comedic talent guide us through the extremes, triumphs and revelations of self-improvement and understanding is an absolute delight, and one we know our members will love.”
Wellmania will be Barber’s second Netflix role, after voicing the character of Kayla the koala in animated feature Back to the Outback.
“I’m so excited about this project, the whole team is awesome,” said Barber. “We’ve been working on it for a while and I’ve been busting to tell everyone about it. I’m drawn to projects that centre around interesting, dynamic and complex lead female characters and that’s exactly what Wellmania is. I’m stoked to be working with Netflix and tell this Australian story to an international audience, and to also be an executive producer so I can boss people around.”
Barber executive produces with Chris Oliver-Taylor and Warren Clarke for Fremantle Australia, with Bree-Anne Sykes who serves as producer. Belinda King (The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting) and Law are co-Executive Producers, and will also head the writing team. Romina Accurso (The Heights, Spreadsheet) will serve as Script Producer and writer, and Nick Coyle (Sarah’s Channel) and Amy Stewart (Hardball, The Heights) will serve as writers.
“Working with Celeste Barber and Netflix is a dream come true for all of us at Fremantle Australia,” added Clarke. “We cannot wait to see the impact that this series has in Australia, and right across the globe.”
Barber has a strong following of 8.5 million on Instagram where she parodies celebs and some of the ridiculous things they posted.
On television, Barber previously appeared as paramedic Bree Matthews in All Saints and is known for her roles in Office Correctness and How Not to Behave.
Barber has sold out stand-up tours across the U.S. and Australia. Pre-pandemic, her first stand-up special, The Challenge Accepted, aired on Showtime. Barber is repped by Underground, Lisa Mann Creative Management in Australia and The Nord Group.