Stan’s Bali 2002 Series Is Out This Week So Let’s Compare The Actors W/ Their IRL Subjects

The Stan Original Series Bali 2002 tells the story of a horrifying bombing incident that sent shockwaves through Australia and Indonesia. Now, two decades later, the four-part series explores the true stories people whose lives were changed forever that day.

So, speaking of real-life subjects — we’ve put together some side-by-side comparisons of the Bali 2002 actors and the people they’re portraying.

Since many of these folks still have an enduring cultural impact in Australia today, we’ve also included some info about the characters’ significance to the story and modern-day ‘Straya for good measure.

First up is actress Claudia Jessie who plays nightclub bombing survivor Polly Miller.

Miller was just five weeks into her marriage with husband Dan Miller before he was killed in the blast and she suffered horrific burns.

Now, Miller runs the Dan’s Fund For Burns foundation which supports people suffering from burns-related injuries. What a legend!

L: Claudia Jessie as Polly Miller. R: The real-life Polly Miller in 2003. Credit: Stan & Antony Dickson/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

Next up is legendary Aussie actress Rachel Griffiths who plays Dr Fiona Wood.

Wood is a plastic surgeon specialising in burns and was one of the principal medical professionals treating bombing victims back in 2002.

Rachel Griffiths as Dr Fiona Wood. R: The real-life Dr Fiona Wood. Credit: Stan & National Press Club of Australia

Sean Keenan who you might remember from Lockie Leonard and Puberty Blues plays AFL great-turned-list manager at the Greater Western Sydney Giants Jason McCartney.

McCartney famously returned to playing AFL with the North Melbourne Kangaroos despite suffering burns to his hands in the blast.

L: Sean Keenan as Jason McCartney. R: The real-life Jason McCartney in 2003. Credit: Stan & Ryan Pierse via Getty

Next up we’ve got Richard Roxburgh playing Graham Ashton.

As a cop, Ashton led the victim identification process in Bali following the incident.

He was later awarded an Order of Australia medal for his services to the counter-terrorism department within the Australian Federal Police.

L Richard Roxburgh as Graham Ashton. R: The real-life Graham Ashton. Credit: Stan & Scott Barbour via Getty Images.

Sri Ayu Jati Kartika plays Ni-Luh Erniati, a widow whose husband was working as a bartender at the Sari Club when the venue was destroyed in the blast.

Erniati first met her husband at the Sari Club, making her story all the more heartbreaking.

“The hardest thing is that I met him in that place and I lost him in that place,” she said in a 2015 interview with SBS.

L Sri Ayu Jati Kartika as Ni-Luh Erniati. R: The real-life Ni-Luh Erniati in 2004. Credit: Stan & Suzanne Plunkett via AP Photo

As someone who was only born in 1998, I was just a wee lil’ boy when the tragic Bali bombings occurred. I faintly remember overhearing news items about it but it’s definitely a blind spot in my Aussie history knowledge.

Now that I’m much older (and debatably wiser), I’m in a much better position to appreciate all the background effort Stan did to put Bali 2002 together.

The consultations with the subjects, the inter-cultural collaboration, and the casting of real-life people with actors who could believably portray them all deserve massive props!

Bali 2002 will be premiering on Stan this Sunday, September 25. In the meantime, you can suss out the full trailer below.