Production revs up on the Gold Coast

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Day and Date Down Under

The menu today is mostly movies and mostly Gold Coast productions, with Queensland becoming ancient China, the Amazon, Africa, Norselands and Sydney, depending on which film is being shot.

First up is Nest, a 3D+ film recently shot at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast. This is the largest Chinese-Australian co-production to date. A team of scientists must battle hordes of man-eating funnel web spiders in the labyrinthine tunnels that were once part of Beijing's Imperial Palace network. The scientists and their entourage include Lei Bingbing, Kellan Lutz, Kelsey Grammer and Aussie Shane Jacobson. Many of the newest cinemas in China have been built equipped for extra “dimensions.” The producers aim to target these cinemas: "We’ll probably go 4D or 5D or 6D with seats moving, water or leg ticklers,” said director Kimble Rendall. No stranger to the joys of 3D, Rendall previously had a strong success in China with his shark feature Bait 3D. The film is being represented worldwide by Darclight, and with many international territories pre-sold.

Kong: Skull Island, starring Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson, was shot earlier this year on the Gold Coast, and the Marvel feature Thor: Ragnarok starts principal photography in June. Between these two Queensland features, Daniel Radcliffe flies Down Under to star in Jungle, with filming to commence in April. Radcliffe plays an enthusiastic young explorer who heads deep into the Amazon jungle with two friends and a rather ill-chosen guide. The result is that he must battle not only deadly threats from the environment, but also from within his own group. Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) directs the thrills and terrors of the journey. Producer Gary Hamilton is involved with both Nest 3D and Jungle.

The Gold Coast will also be hosting the Sydney-set comedy-drama Flammable Children when it starts filming in October. Aussie actor Guy Pearce reunites with his Priscilla, Queen of the Desert director Stephan Elliott and producer Al Clark. The 1975-set film starts with a 200-ton blue whale getting washed up on a Sydney beach to the delight of local children. The adults react in a different way and start finding new sexual freedoms including wife-swapping parties and worse. Radha Mitchell co-stars, with additional casting to be announced closer to the shooting date.

The menu continues with a film plus a meal at Gourmet Cinema at Caulfield Racecourse. No Australian summer would be complete without outdoor screenings—in swimming pools, in parks, at the beach, and now at a racecourse. Five of Melbourne's major restaurants will each produce a special menu to pair with a selected film. A European restaurant has been chosen for The Grand Budapest Hotel; "Dude Food" will accompany The Big Lebowski; Italian for The Great Beauty; French for Midnight In Paris, and well-known restaurant Mamasita will produce their own special menu for Chef.

Send your Australia/New Zealand news to David Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com.