When it comes to The Wog Boy, Frank Lotito has enjoyed a progression from stage to screen.
The Melbourne actor turned director went from joining Nick Giannopoulos, Vince Colosimo, and Alex Dimitriades in The Wogboys Live tour of 2015 to being behind the camera for the upcoming third instalment of the film franchise.
Slated for release early next year, Wog Boys Forever signals the return of Steve Karamitsis (Giannopoulos), who is working as a taxi driver and still single. His life takes a turn when he becomes the target of a revenge plan hatched by Brianna Beagle-Thorpe (Annabel Marshall-Roth), the Minister for Immigration, and her brother (Liam Seymour), who blame him for destroying their mother Raelene’s political career.
Vince Colosimo reprises his role as Frank Di Benedetto in the film, which is written and produced by Giannopoulos.
Lotito, who is long-time friends with Colosimo, said he was invited to work on the project after sharing his feature directorial debut from 2015, Growing Up Smith, with Giannopoulos, having kept in touch following the stage tour.
“Nick really loved it and when he was talking about doing another film three or four years ago, he said he’d love for me to take a look at Wog Boys Forever and wanted me to direct it,” he said.
“He was a man of his word and when I read the script I thought it was a hoot, so I decided to jump on board.”
The film is the first feature Lotito has directed since returning to his native Melbourne in 2019 following a six-year stint in the US.
After coming back “for a film that never happened”, he went on to direct web series Welfare, starring Steve Bastoni, Jackson Tozer, Pia Miranda, and Peter Helliar, and was attached to film a pilot for comedy AussieWood, only for the project to be halted as a result of last year’s Melbourne lockdown.
The city’s fluctuating COVID restrictions also impacted production on Wog Boys Forever, which was shot across five weeks in June, the time of the fourth lockdown.
“We started shooting and then two days later, they sent us into a lockdown,” Lotito said.
“It affects production in terms of budget and slowed us down a little,
“We had a COVID nurse and a cleaner, and we were only allowed a certain amount of people in a space, depending on how big the space was, so we created bubbles with each department.
“It wasn’t easy but we got through.”
Now in post-production, Wog Boys Forever is expected to be completed before the end of the year, after which it will be one of the first local titles released under Troy Lum and Jason Hernandez’s new distribution company, Kismet.