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Revealed: Bitter off set row over Hemsworth movie

 

THE new Chris Hemsworth sci-fi flick to be filmed on the Gold Coast is causing a massive off set stink.

A report on the weekend revealed the Netflix feature film called Escape from Spiderhead featuring the Byron Bay-based action star would start production on the Coast this month after backing from the Palaszczuk Government.

Instagram image of Chris Hemsworth with wife Elsa Pataky at Orpheus Island over the weekend for his birthday.
Instagram image of Chris Hemsworth with wife Elsa Pataky at Orpheus Island over the weekend for his birthday.

But the announcement has stunned the Federal Government and sparked comments about Labor trying to "rewrite the script" on securing productions to the Glitter Strip.

The Premier said the production would employ 360 local cast and crew and pump around $47 million into the local economy, crediting her government's financial incentives for helping the Coast's economy recover from the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

Federal Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Minister Paul Fletcher, later told the Bulletin: "I am disappointed that Queensland Labor is misleading the public by claiming all the credit for attracting movies to film in Queensland, while completely failing to acknowledge the financial contribution made by the Morrison Government."

Mr Fletcher referred to comments by Ms Palaszczuk lauding the "huge success" of her government's Production Attraction Strategy in enticing major productions such as Thor: Ragnarok and Aquaman to Queensland.

He said the two productions were attracted to film at Village Roadshow studios on the Coast with more than $51 million committed in grants from the Morrison Government.

A further $21.6 million was provided as a grant to secure Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead men tell no tales, he said.

In addition to these grants, the Morrison Government estimates it has provided over $43 million to six productions which will film in Queensland under the location incentive program.

Just a month ago the Government announced $19.5 million of funding under the program to attract three productions from giant US studio NBC Universal to film in Queensland: Young Rock, Joe Exotic and Irreverent.

The Commonwealth Agency Screen Australia has supported 31 Australian productions in Queensland in 2019-20, with total funding of more than $10 million, Mr Fletcher said.

Chris Hemsworth and family at byron - picture: Instagram
Chris Hemsworth and family at byron - picture: Instagram

"We're delighted to support these productions, which will pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the Queensland economy and create thousands of jobs," he said.

"Key stakeholders in the Queensland screen sector have been generous in acknowledging our support, particularly given the current pressures on the Federal Budget. It is disappointing that Queensland Labor is so desperate that it is rewriting the script and failing to give credit where credit is due."

NEW MOVIE TO START PRODUCTION THIS MONTH

A Netflix sci-fi feature film starring Chris Hemsworth will start production on the Gold Coast this month after backing from the Palaszczuk Government.

Escape from Spiderhead will be filmed entirely in Queensland and directed by Joseph Kosinski, who previous movies included Top Gun: Maverick, Only the Brave, Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Escape from Spiderhead was set to employ 360 local cast and crew and would pump around $47 million into the local economy.

The international project also offers workforce development opportunities in film production, health and safety, production design, and hair and make-up to the local screen industry.

Securing the big-budget productions to Queensland through the government's production attraction incentive will help the Coast's economy recover from the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

"Spiderhead will give a great boost to the local economy. We're working hard to secure productions like this for the Gold Coast because we know they create local jobs and pump cash into local businesses," the Premier said.

"As Europe and America continues to struggle with the pandemic, Queensland's reputation as a world-class film destination, alongside global recognition as a safe environment for filmmaking, has led to unprecedented demand to produce projects here.

"Because we've managed the health here in Queensland, we're now able to capitalise on that demand and focus on rebuilding our economy."

Chris Hemsworth Lord Howe Island holiday. Picture: chrishemsworth/Instagram
Chris Hemsworth Lord Howe Island holiday. Picture: chrishemsworth/Instagram

Gaven MP Meaghan Scanlon said the government's strategy to secure world class productions for Queensland was having a positive impact on the Coast.

"The Coast is fast becoming recognised as a global hub for filmmakers and producers," Ms Scanlon said.

"Growing this industry has huge potential to create more locals jobs on the Gold Coast - from caterers to cleaners through to cast, crew and administration officers.

"This production also has global appeal. Having beautiful images of the Gold Coast beamed into millions of homes around the world will help to ensure the Coast remains front-of-mind for prospective tourists once it's safe to accept visitors again."

Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich said Queensland was fast becoming a production paradise with big-budget domestic and international projects queuing up due to the State's depth of talent and expertise, stunningly diverse locations and COVID-safe status.

"Screen Queensland is thrilled to welcome this Netflix Original production, starring homegrown A-lister Chris Hemsworth, alongside co-stars Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett, into our backyard," she said.

Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky, during holidays in the Rainbow Beach area – Photo Supplied Instagram
Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky, during holidays in the Rainbow Beach area – Photo Supplied Instagram

"In co-operation with the Queensland Government, Screen Queensland has worked hard to ensure producers and filmmakers around the globe appreciate the significant advantages of filming in Queensland, particularly in the current climate.

"What we offer is a winning combination of local talent and expertise, a wide spectrum of locations, competitive incentives and first-rate safety, and our project pipeline keeps on growing as a result," Ms Munnich said.

Debra Richards, APAC Director of Production Policy for Netflix, welcomed the support of the Government and the assistance of Screen Queensland along with the council providing locations and stage space solutions for the first Netflix feature to be filmed in Australia.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Coast studios. Pic Annette Dew.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Coast studios. Pic Annette Dew.

This announcement follows other major screen projects for Queensland, including Universal Studio Group's three TV series - Young Rock, Joe Exotic and Irreverent - filming at Screen Queensland Studios for the next 18 months, and Baz Luhrmann's untitled Elvis project in production at Village Roadshow Studios.

Adapted from a George Saunders short story and set in a near future where convicts opt to reduce prison time by participating in experimental drug trials, Spiderhead centres on an inmate played by Hemsworth who tries to outsmart his overseers to save himself and the female inmate (Jurnee Smollett) who he falls in love with.

Originally published as Revealed: Bitter off set row over Hemsworth movie


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