By Sam Dallas
The director of one of Australia’s most popular movies is on his way back Down Under after almost two decades overseas.
Stephan Elliott, director of the critically-acclaimed The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, will shoot his new “broad comedy”, A Few Best Men, in NSW, it was announced yesterday.
“It was time to come home,” Elliott told a small, Sydney press conference.
“I think the Australian film industry is cyclic. I got out at a time when we were doing some good comedies.
“We’re right at the point now where I feel comedy’s going to be the key to breaking out and going global again…the timing feels right on this one.”
The $10-$14 million project, written by Dean Craig (Death At A Funeral), went into pre-production today and shooting is expected to start mid-October.
Elliott, 45, said the cast was “top secret” but hinted there could be a Priscilla reunion.
“I haven’t been home in a long while, there’s a lot of people looking forward to me coming home, so I think there’s going to be a couple of surprises in the cast yet,” he said after a brief, smiling pause.
The Sydney-born director, who is lucky to be alive after a skiing accident in 2004, held auditions via Skype last night with English actors.
The film, to be shot in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, is about an English groom who travels to the outback to marry his Aussie bride and with the combination of his best men and his fiancé’s family, it’s sure to be a recipe for disaster.
He said Queensland and Victoria were both “aggressive” in trying to secure the feature – touted as an Australian version of The Hangover – however NSW ultimately became victorious.
NSW Arts Minister Virginia Judge is happy to have “the creative genius behind Priscilla” back home, indicating the project would create about 170 jobs and generate about $10 million in economic activity.
“I think it’s another feather in the cap for NSW,” Judge told the press conference.
“Our state will be enriched because of his presence here.”
Screen Australia boss Ruth Harley announced funding for A Few Best Men back in April.
“A Few Best Men is a very Australian take on the classic fish out of water tale led by a highly talented comedic team with a strong track record,” she said at the time.
Elliott said the film, produced by Aussie Todd Fellman (Daybreakers) and Americans Laurence Malkin and Share Stallings who both did Death At A Funeral, should be ready for Cannes Film Festival next May.