Two major Netflix titles – the Chris Hemsworth-starring film Escape from Spiderhead and the Toni Collette-starring Pieces of Her drama series – will film in Australia as part of the Federal Government’s $400million Location Incentive Program.
Escape from Spiderhead will begin shooting this month on the Gold Coast; Pieces of Her‘s production will commence in Homebush, NSW in January 2021.
Escape from Spiderhead is directed by Joseph Kosinski and based on a short story by George Saunders, first published in the New Yorker. The flick is a science fiction film set in a near future where convicts can choose to reduce their prison time by taking part in experimental drug trials. Miles Teller and Jurnee Smolett star alongside Hemsworth, who is also a co-producer.
Pieces of Her is an eight-part series based on the 2018 Karin Slaughter novel of the same name, in which a random act of violence causes unrest in a sleepy Georgia town. In addition to Collette, it is also set to star rising Aussie actress Bella Heathcote and veteran David Wenham. Production of the show was originally set to begin in British Columbia, Canada but coronavirus delays scuttled those plans.
The two productions’ account for $21.58 million of the Location Incentive Program. One production benefiting from the program, the Liam Neeson vehicle Blacklight, is currently shooting in Melbourne.
The $400million package received some criticism when announced in July, with Shadow Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, questioning why the money had only been allocated for international productions when the local industry had only recieved $50million.
“What we don’t understand is this: why is the government more committed to supporting Hollywood than it is to supporting Australia’s own creative community?” Mr. Burke said.
Matthew Deaner, CEO of Screen Producers Australia, said the funding would target Hollywood productions filming in Australia, but the budget would only accommodate 20 per cent of the local industry.
“It’s great to have Thor and Pirates of the Caribbean and those productions shooting here, it’s wonderful, but they don’t sell Australia.”