Travel may be off the books for many this year due to the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped this celebrity set from travelling to Australia.
Many film and TV productions are taking place in Australia in 2020 and 2021 –– thanks to our relatively low number of COVID-19 cases, as well as our government’s $400 million Location Incentive which is designed to encourage film productions to film here.
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There’s a disproportionately high number of big-name celebs who have come Down Under for work, some of them even choosing to buy a property and settle down.
Why will Sigourney Weaver be in Australia?
Based on the international best-selling debut novel by Australian author Holly Ringland, the series will explore the story of a young girl, Alice Hart, who lives with trauma as an adult due to her violent childhood. Hart’s story will be told across seven parts.
Australian talent seems to be the cornerstone of the production team, with writer Sarah Lambert (Lambs of Gods) adapting the novel for the screen and acting as series showrunner, while Glendyn Ivin (The Cry) is set to direct and Emmy winner Bruna Papandrea (Penguin Bloom) will produce.
Most recently, the 71-year-old science fiction action heroine pioneer starred as Margaret in My Salinger Year, has wrapped filming Ghostbusters: Afterlife and is currently filming drama Call Jane.
Why is Sam Rockwell in Australia?
Oscar-winning actor Sam Rockwell was spotted with his wife, actress Leslie Bibb, 46, at Little Bang Brewery, a local bar in Adelaide over the weekend.
The 52-year-old Jojo Rabbit star’s reasons for being in Adelaide are currently unknown, however, Bibb has been filming Netflix‘s God’s Favourite Idiot with Melissa McCarthy in Lismore, New South Wales — just outside of Byron Bay.
An Adelaide local told The Advertiser that the couple stayed at the brewery for several hours and were very patient and kind to fans.
Why are Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen in Australia?
They later travelled to Queensland to begin shooting Ron Howard’s upcoming film Thirteen Lives, a story about the rescue of 12 young boys and their soccer coach after they were trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand in June 2018.
Howard himself arrived in Australia in January, and the movie is being filmed in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Why is Tilda Swinton in Australia?
Tilda Swinton has been in Sydney since January to film her scenes for upcoming fantasy film Three Thousands Years of Longing. Filming began in November 2020, and is ongoing.
Directed by Mad Max‘s George Miller, it’s about a ‘lonely and bitter British woman’ who encounters a Djinn during a trip to Istanbul. It also stars Idris Elba.
The duo have often been seen out and about around the set in Sydney’s northern suburbs, with Swinton having been spotted in the eastern suburbs as well.
Why is Julia Roberts in Australia?
Julia Roberts has made her way Down Under to begin filming the political thriller Gaslit, which is about the Watergate scandal, in Sydney.
She arrived via private jet with her husband and three kids in early March, and they underwent quarantine in a home north of the city.
The 53-year-old Pretty Woman star, her 52-year-old cinematographer husband and her children have not been spotted out and about since, but the family are said to be staying in a luxury private estate in the Hawkesbury region.
Apparently, Nicole Kidman helped her get situated in Australia. According to The Daily Telegraph, Kidman “donated her personal security team and a band of handlers to help smooth the process”.
Roberts is also set to film a romantic comedy, Ticket to Paradise, with George Clooney in the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland later this year.
Why is Kylie Minogue in Australia?
Kylie Minogue has been living in the UK for the majority of her career, but returned home at the end of January and completed her mandatory hotel quarantine in Melbourne.
It doesn’t seem like she’s returned to work, but maybe just to escape the strict lockdowns going on back in London. She’s definitely leaning into the Aussie summer lifestyle, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing backyard cricket.
Why was Luke Evans in Australia?
Luke Evans arrived in Australia last November to film Nine Perfect Strangers in Byron Bay, and seemed to be having a great time exploring the country, spending time in Sydney and its surrounds. He returned to London in late April 2021.
The 42-year-old Beauty and the Beast star did his mandatory two weeks of quarantine on arrival: “I can’t see anyone for two weeks,” he told Variety at the time.
“I have to be tested every other day. Everything is going to be delivered to my room and I have to stay in a room in Australia and not leave it for two weeks just so that we can then be free to go and shoot something.”
After quarantine, he did his fair share of travel around the country, posting a lot of photos from Bondi, Byron and the Blue Mountains. There are rumours he’s been dating a Sydney investment banker, which is what was keeping him in the city.
Why is Rita Ora in Australia?
After facing backlash for throwing a birthday party during London’s strict lockdown, Rita Ora jetted to Australia ahead of her performance at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in March and her stint as a judge on The Voice.
She quarantined for two weeks in a Sydney hotel before beginning to film –– and many Australians who are ‘stranded’ overseas were upset that she was able to ‘jump the queue’ to enter the country.
The 30-year-old songstress seems to have been enjoying her time on our sunburnt plains, having been spotted soaking up the sun at Bondi Beach and attending the Sydney premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under with Taika Waititi, fuelling dating rumours between the pair.
Why is Matt Damon in Australia?
Damon’s family underwent their 14-day quarantine in New South Wales and have taken up Australian residency amid the film’s production.
“I’m so excited that my family and I will be able to call Australia home for the next few months,” the actor said in a statement.
“Australian film crews are world-renowned for their professionalism and are a joy to work with so the 14 days of quarantine will be well worth it. Australia definitely is the lucky country, and I can’t wait to show my family Australia’s down to earth people, breathtaking scenery and diverse culture.”
Why was Paul Mescal in Australia?
Earlier this year, Normal People star Paul Mescal was casually spotted in areas around NSW, from counting eggs at the supermarket to spending a day at the beach.
According to one Twitter user, he was also seen on Tinder in Sydney.
The Irish-born actor was in Australia to film the upcoming movie adaptation of opera Carmen in Broken Hill, New South Wales, and will play the male lead role Aidan. Filming wrapped in early March. The film’s location was originally slated to occur in Mexico and LA.
Why was Mark Wahlberg in Australia?
“Hopefully I will be able to move my family down to Australia for four, five months,” he told Today entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins in January this year.
“To make a movie on the Gold Coast and enjoy, you know, the beautiful country.”
Wahlberg previously touched down in Australia in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, however despite having to quarantine, the blockbuster star had all but positive reviews.
“I was hoping to spend more time, but fortunately I was able to see wonderful people,” he said. “I was able to do some really cool projects and more importantly, create a great partnership with the Mustaca family.”
Why is Natalie Portman in Australia?
Natalie Portman has been seen out and about all around Sydney since the second half of 2020. She arrived in September with her husband and child and, after a two-week hotel quarantine, settled down in Sydney.
Recently, Portman was spotted having brunch with her parents in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. She has also apparently been looking at houses in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley with her husband.
Why are Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher in Australia?
Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher have been spotted in Sydney, enrolling their three kids in a local school here. Fisher grew up in Perth, but moved to Sydney to begin her career –– which is where she met Cohen back in 2002.
It seems as though the couple moved to Australia after Fisher was cast in an upcoming animated Netflix film called Back To The Outback, starring other local actors including Eric Bana, Keith Urban, Tim Minchin and Celeste Barber.
The Home And Away actress has in the past mentioned her desire to settle down back home in Australia.
“I have this secret fantasy of slowing down, moving to Byron Bay, getting off the grid and sitting on the sand with a Vegemite sandwich,” she told Marie Claire in 2018.
Why is Kate Walsh in Australia?
“I was down in Margaret River and then there was a lockdown. I got a little place up here in Perth and that’s where I am,” she told 9Honey Celebrity in March 2020.
“And I have to say, I love it. I really love Perth. I love the city, I love the people and I feel very, very fortunate, obviously, to have quarantined there and be in WA during this kind of crazy time in the world.”
But Walsh isn’t in a hurry to return to her New York apartment just yet — she’s too busy enjoying the odd AFL match, plus she sees Perth’s production potential and would love to build a studio and film a project there.
“One of the first thoughts I had when I looked around Perth was, ‘Why aren’t we shooting movies and television here?'” said Walsh, who has already extended her visa once.
“So I’ve been quite passionate and vocal about trying to get that happening. To have a proper studio, so we have access to some of the great international productions that are coming to Australia at large now.”
Why is Zac Efron in Australia?
Fans squealed with delight when news swept social media that the Hollywood heartthrob was in Australia. The actor was first spotted in the NSW coastal town of Byron Bay in June 2020, with diners noticing him at a local cafe.
“Don’t mean to alarm anyone but Zac Efron was literally eating at the same cafe as me when this was taken,” influencer Tarsha Whitmore captioned a June 18 Instagram photo from The General Store cafe.
It turns out Efron didn’t come here film a movie or project — it appears he just chose Australia to ride out the coronavirus pandemic. But after just a few months in the country, he was cast in the upcoming Stan original series Gold, which was being filmed in Adelaide.
Locals have spotted him around the city, in trendy bars and buying a pair of RM Williams boots.
Before filming South Australia, Efron spent months living in Byron Bay with reports he’ll follow Chris Hemsworth‘s lead and buy a property there. He is currently filming his Netflix series Down to Earth across the country.
The High School Musical star has long been a fan of Australia, gushing to AAP in 2012, “What I love about Australia, which is what we don’t have in California, is there are so many wide open beaches where no-one is at.”
Why are Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy in Australia?
With the stars all descending to the Southern Highlands in New South Wales, the region may as well rename itself Hollywood.
Leading the way is Nicole Kidman, who stars and produces the mini-series Nine Perfect Strangers, which was filmed in the region as well as in Byron Bay.
The Aussie actress arrived back home in Australia in early 2020 with husband Keith Urban and daughters Sunday and Faith.
Kidman’s co-producer, Melissa McCarthy, is also Down Under with her family as she prepares to play Frances, the show’s protagonist.
McCarthy was seen in Byron Bay — another of the show’s filming locations — on August 9 2020, one day before filming commenced.
McCarthy is also joining the Thor: Love and Thunder cast as an actress playing Cate Blanchett‘s Hela. The fourth Thor installment has been filming in New South Wales.
Also set to star in the series is Bobby Cannavale. The New Jersey-born actor and his Aussie wife, actress Rose Bryne, were also seen with their sons in Byron Bay ahead of filming. Welsh actor Luke Evans was also filming in Australia, but has since returned home.
Also filming in Australia for Nine Perfect Strangers was Michael Shannon, Regina Hall, Manny Jacinto, Tiffany Boone, Melvin Gregg, Grace Van Patten, Asher Keddie and Samara Weaving.
The eight-part series revolves around nine Aussies who spend 10 days together at a remote health retreat in the bush — Kidman plays a mysterious Russian woman named Masha, who runs the retreat.
The project sees the actress team up with her Big Little Lies co-producer Bruna Papandrea and novelist Liane Moriarty, who wrote both Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers.
“We can’t wait to introduce you to #NinePerfectStrangers,” Kidman wrote on Instagram as she and Moriarty brainstormed over coffee.
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