Hundreds of jobs at stake in film standoff

A MAJOR Hollywood film star wants to make their next blockbuster on the Gold Coast but is battling Federal Government bureaucrats over tax incentives to make it happen.

The Bulletin can reveal Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking him to intervene, in a scene reminiscent of the successful battle to bring 2018's Dora The Explorer to the Glitter Strip.

Like Dora, the film requires the Federal Government to sign off on lifting the tax offset, as previously recommended by a bipartisan Commonwealth Parliament Committee.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

While the Government remains tight-lipped about the star in question, sources say Byron Bay-based Hollywood star Chris Hemsworth was keen to film on the Gold Coast and had made no secret about wanting to work closer to home.

Ms Palaszczuk confirmed the State Government had provided funding for the project under its Production Attraction Incentive, and that she had written to the PM asking him to step in, saying the offset was needed to allow Australia to compete on a level playing field with other countries vying for screen projects.

"This is about jobs, hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars' worth of investment," she said. "In a time of international uncertainty over the coronavirus it is more important than ever to reassure the international screen industry that we are open for business.

"Then there are the bushfires with victims here on the Coast.

"We need to create certainty for this industry and ensure a pipeline of jobs so that we maintain our reputation as a place to do business."

It is understood the actor would also produce the movie, dubbed a "passion project".

Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan

Aside from his Thor duties, which will take him to Sydney for the filming of the upcoming Thor: Love and War, Hemsworth is also planning to produce and star in a biopic of iconic professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.

Announced early last year last year, the untitled Hulk Hogan film is expected to be directed by Academy Award nominated Joker helmer Todd Phillips.

The Premier was last night yet to receive a response from Mr Morrison's office.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

In early 2018, Paramount Studios said it wanted to make the children's film on the Gold Coast but insisted the tax offset be lifted from 16.5 per cent to 30 per cent.

Mr Morrison, the then-Treasurer, was initially noncommittal, forcing Ms Palaszczuk to tip an extra $20 million into the project to lock it in after the studio gave an ultimatum.

The then-Turnbull Government went on to announce a four-year, $140 million national location incentive program in that year's Federal Budget.


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